by Ben Luxon November 06, 2019 4 min read

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Winter can bring with it a host of costly issues for properties, from split pipes to fallen trees. However, with a little extra care and mindfulness, you can minimise potential problems avoiding expensive maintenance costs, long tenancy absences, and stressful midnight emergency calls.

Here are our 7 winter maintenance tips:

1. Inspect trees and bushes

The last thing you want is a phone call in the middle of the night from your tenants saying a tree has crashed through the side of the property. However, if extreme weather hits snow or wind could bring down dangerous branches that could cause serious and costly damage to your property.

Do a quick inspection of the vegetation around your property and make sure that any hazardous looking branches are trimmed and any rotting parts of bushes or trees removed to remove the potential of damage to the property.

Inspect the trees and other vegetation around your property for rot and dangerous branches that may cause damage to the windows and walls in strong winds or when covered with heavy snow. Make sure any hazardous branches are trimmed and any rotting parts of bushes and trees are removed to prevent any damages.

2. Clean out your gutters

winter maintenance

One thing that should definitely be done before winter starts is the cleaning out of the gutters. Clogged gutters can cause a number of problems including leaks, as well as damage to the roof and exterior walls.

Hiring a specialist company to get this done is a small expense that could save you big in the long run.

3. Advise your tenants to heat the property

There are a couple of issues that arise from improperly heated properties. The first is the risk of frozen pipes. Pipes freezing can cause them to burst, which is an expensive fix. Keeping the heat on will help keep them warm and minimise the danger of burst pipes. 

The second problem winter can bring with it is an increase in the chances of mould. Mould thrives in the damp conditions of winter and if your tenants are improperly heating the property you could find yourself getting phone calls asking you to deal with their most recent outbreak of mould.

For both of the above, prevention is the best cure so you should do everything you can to avoid these scenarios.

4. Get the Boiler Serviced

With the increased strain during winter, boilers are much more likely to break. So, much like your car, it’s a good idea to get your boiler serviced once a year. 

This will elongate the life of the boiler, saving you money on repairs and replacements, as well as catch any potential issues early to help you avoid a scenario with some very unhappy and cold tenants.

5. Talk to your tenants

Winter can be hard on a property. Ice, wind, rain all add their own wear to a building. Keeping a good relationship with your tenant will likely mean they will be more helpful when it comes to keeping their property in good condition.

Make sure they have all the details they need about the property, including things like the fuse box and stop cock in case they need to turn off the water supply or power.

Plus, make sure they’ve got several ways to contact you in the case of an emergency. Finally, tell them about any security or maintenance steps you’d like them to take if they’re going away for a while.

Landlord winter maintenance tips

6. Turn off the water supply (when the property is empty)

We’ve mentioned freezing pipes up already in this article. But it’s easy to forget about them, then a cold snap hits and you’ve hundreds of pounds of repairs to be made on split pipes.

If your property is empty for a while, and it looks like it may freeze, you can reduce the risk of split pipes by turning the water supply off and then opening up taps to let some of the water out. Then if the water does freeze it will have room to expand.

7. Keep an eye on void periods

It might seem that whilst the property is empty you simply don’t have to worry about it. However, things can go wrong when left unattended.

From the point of view of your insurer, events like fires, leaks, and burglary are all more likely to occur during a prolonged absence of tenants. That’s why they require you to let them know immediately about any vacant periods.

It’s a good idea to visit your property regularly when no one is in residence to ensure everything is in good order. Check for leaks, open windows to air the property out, and check the boiler amongst other things.

If your rental property’s near your home, this might be quite easy to do. If it’s not, you may want to consider getting someone else, such as a letting agent, to check in for you.

Conclusion

The best policy is always prevention and with these 7 winter maintenance tips, you should have a better idea as to what you can do to better prep your rental property for winter.

Not all maintenance problems can be avoided, however, which is why you should make sure your tenants know who to call and what to do in the case of an emergency.

Ben Luxon

"Ben is an author and real estate enthusiast. His interest in all things entrepreneurial has led him to work with real estate professionals all over the world, distilling their knowledge into articles and Ebooks. His love of travelling has taken him to over 10 countries in the last year, where he has sampled the craft beer of them all."



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