Landlords' Winter Checklist: Get Ready for the Cold

As a landlord, you should ensure you look after your property all year round to prevent problems occurring.

The winter can be especially problematic, and it is therefore a great idea to make a few essential checks before the weather turns really cold. That way you can help to prevent minor problems from getting worse – and there is less chance of being called up in the middle of the night by an irate tenant.

Check Your Pipes

Pipes are one of the big problem areas in the winter. Frozen pipes can burst and cause serious damage to your property that can cost a lot of money to repair. If your tenants go on holiday and the pipes burst while they are away, the damage could be serious.

Now is the time to make sure all your pipe work is lagged, especially in the attic. Remind your tenants about tips to reduce the risks, including keeping the heating on a low temperature if they go away during the coldest time of the year.

Get the Boiler Checked

A boiler breaking down in the middle of winter is going to be very unpleasant for your tenants – and expensive for you if it needs replacing. Get your boiler checked over to ensure it is in good working condition before the cold sets in, and that way you can catch minor problems early to avoid more costly repairs.

Remember that a Gas Safe registered technician should check all the gas appliances and flues annually, and you will also need to provide your tenants with the certificate.

Check for Signs of Damp

Carry out a quick check for damp in every room in your property. This is something that the tenants may forget to tell you about, but they are certainly going to be on the phone when water starts seeping through the wall or ceiling. Again, catching it early will allow you to take preventative action and avoid more serious damage.

Check the Exterior

Don't forget the area surrounding the property, and this is especially important when it comes to looking for dead trees. A winter storm could send a branch into a window or knock a few tiles off the roof, or could even blow down an entire tree.

Also check the gutters and clear them out if necessary, which is essential for preventing the accumulation of water. Dead leaves falling in the autumn make now a good time to clear them out, and you can do this yourself or hire someone to do it for you.

Make Now the Time to Fit Insulation

Having insulation in your property is a great idea. It can be expensive to install, but the benefits make it worthwhile. Simple loft insulation does not actually have to be too expensive, and it can make a huge difference to your tenants' comfort level. Also look out for any grants for insulation that can help you to make some savings.

Take Special Care if Your Property Is Empty

You need to be even more careful if you have no tenants currently residing in your property. Keep a careful eye on your empty property by checking it once a week for sings of damp and other problems. Turn off the stopcock so the pipes do not freeze, and turn the heating on regularly to keep the system in good order.

Look After Your Property This Winter

Look after your property by making regular checks throughout the year, but especially before the winter sets in. Encourage your tenants to look out for potential problem signs, because minor problems can become a lot worse if they are not caught soon enough. By checking your property before the winter and making any necessary repairs, you can ensure you are doing all you can to keep your property in the best possible condition through the winter months.