Castles specialises in making sure your tenant stays happy. Happy tenants mean less void periods, consistent rent payments and a high standard of looking after your property. According to an online survey (which surveyed 4,000 landlords) – escalating problems with no agent contact and expensive repairs were the main culprits behind tenants looking to move elsewhere. We asked a bunch of local landlords how they make sure their tenants stay happy and keep maintenance costs down during the winter months.
Boiler and Heating
“Arrange your annual boiler service for sometime in September or November to ensure its in top shape for the winter months”. Boiler maintenance call outs increased by 145% last February; here is a simple fix to a common boiler issue in our British (I mean arctic) weather. Usually the boiler has a pipe that runs outside the building; make sure you know where this pipe is. Being exposed to the elements means this pipe can freeze when temperatures hit 0. Here’s a simple fix before calling out maintenance – boil the kettle and wait for it to cool so its not boiling hot. Run the warm water over the pipe a few times to defrost the frozen water stuck inside.
MB: Castles will always advise tenants to never turn off their heating in the winter, even if they go away. Properties with void periods will also need to have their central heating running at a low temperature to avoid freezing.
Mould is formed when the warm air from cooking or showering hits a cold surface such as a window or an external wall. This is why black mould usually forms around window frames and in the corners of the room and usually in kitchens and bathroom. Landlords – ensure the ventilation in the property is adequate. Extractor fans over the hob can go a long way in preventing any damp or mould issues in the kitchen. Extraction fans in the bathroom, especially moisture sensitive fans can be purchased and installed relatively cheaply and will save redecorating costs in the long run.
Castles Properties performs regular inspections and we always check for signs of damp and mould forming and educate your tenant the best ways to avoid it. In the winter months we ensure all extractor fans are clean and in good working order.
If you’ve recently purchased a rental and its your first winter, it could be worth having a professional roofer check over the roof tiles in the run up to winter. Some may think this sounds like overkill, but its important to make sure the roof has no broken tiles or weak spots in the event of heavy snow.
- Landlord Insurance
Although Landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it could save lots of money in the long run. Some Landlord insurance doesn’t cover some of the above points so make sure you read the small print and find one that does.
We asked Debbie Saxton, a local landlady with a portfolio of 16 for her top tips.
Check that your loft insulation is up to current standards and, depending on location, grants may be available to upgrade it. Check pointing of door and window frames, apply sealant to skirting boards and fill gaps in wooden floors.
- Outside paving
In very cold weather water on paving slabs will freeze. This can not only be dangerous for tenants and anyone visiting the property but could also raise insurance issues and possible compensation claims against private landlords if someone injures themselves on the ice. A 25kg bag of de-icing salt can be purchased for under £40- store this somewhere on the property and let your tenants know its there if they need it.