With summer a fast-fading memory and the prospect of worsening weather ahead, now is the perfect time to start winter-proofing your home or rental property. Finishing a few jobs now could save you a lot of aggravation in the winter months. Not only will this make life easier for you and your tenants, you could avoid a surprise bill later on too.
1. Store garden furniture in a safe, dry place
As we start spending more and more time indoors, it’s time for any garden furniture and equipment to do the same, because who wants to find the garden table transformed into a rotting wildlife reserve come spring? To stop this from happening, make sure you or your tenants pack garden items into a dry shed or outbuilding to keep them in tip top condition ready to be used again next year.
2. Repair the exterior of your property
The next port of call is the outside of your property. Fix those minor cracks, clear any blocked downpipes and sort out loose or cracked roof tiles. Little cracks and crevices can easily turn into gaping holes and downpipes can quickly overflow causing damp. Take a good look at all your outside walls, roofing, and guttering to make sure you’re confident they’ll last until spring.
3. Insulate your property
One of the biggest problems that buildings face is the amount of energy needed to keep them in a liveable condition, a cost that can quite literally go through the roof. One of the main reasons for heat loss in UK homes is a poorly insulated attic space. Making an effort to keep your tenants’ bills low is the best way to encourage them to keep your property warm, which will reduce the risk of long-term structural damage due to damp and mould. Plus it’s great for the environment too. You may be able to offset some of the cost of this work with government grants. Starting in September 2020, the government’s Green Homes Grant scheme could give you up to £5,000 for loft and wall insulation and a new boiler.
4. Keep your property warm and dry
Combine your efficient insulation with an efficient heating system. Make sure the heating is working correctly by bleeding radiators and encourage your tenants to have the heating on a timer. Lagging any exposed pipes is also a quick, cheap protective measure. This will ensure the house heats evenly to limit the risk from damp and mould, and will stop pipes from bursting. This is especially important if your tenants plan on leaving the property empty for an extended period of time. It’s also a good idea to know where your stopcock is, and to show your tenants too. If a pipe does burst, they’ll be able to turn off the water and minimise damage before you or a plumber get there.
Completing these measures now could negate huge repair bills later down the line. Although you can claim for damages caused by tenant negligence in a deposit dispute, it’s far easier to have happy tenants who are more likely to do the right thing. With all these plus points, there really is no reason not to prepare your properties for winter.