Tue 01 Dec 2020
We’ve now entered the winter months, in what has been an extraordinary year caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
While this period sees Christmas decorations and festive TV adverts, it’s also a time where cold, harsh weather has the potential to damage landlords’ homes.
In fact, the storms of 2020 and lingering damage from last year’s storms have seen almost £10 million paid out this year to LV= General Insurance customers – almost double the amount claimed in 2019.
Surprisingly, one in three homeowners are unprepared for storms, potentially leaving their properties at risk of damage. During this period, it’s crucial that landlords are prepared for the weather ahead and keep their rental property well-maintained.
Below, we list six tips for landlords to follow during the colder months.
Bleed the radiators
If your tenants are feeling cold despite having the heating on, it could mean that the radiators need bleeding. Doing so will make sure the pipes in your property are being heated properly when the temperature drops.
Alternatively, you can go to your property and bleed the radiators yourself. Of course, you will need to check that your tenants are not shielding, self-isolating and do not have any symptoms of Covid-19. It’s also important to remember to socially distance and wear a mask to protect them once inside the property.
Keep it cool
Keeping the windows and doors closed while leaving the heating on can create condensation in areas where steam is prevalent – leading to damp and, eventually, mould.
To prevent this, consider educating your tenants on the issue and encourage them to open windows in humid areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. You can also help by ensuring extractor fans are working properly in these areas.
Clear the gutters
Falling leaves may look picturesque at this time of year, but they can cause huge problems if left in the gutter. Clogged or damaged gutters can lead to a build-up of excess water which can potentially damage exterior walls or leak into the property itself.
Consider asking your tenants to clear the gutters on an infrequent basis. You can also visit the property yourself – or get an agent to arrange for this on your behalf – to keep gutters and drains unclogged.
Check the boiler
It’s good practice to get your boiler serviced around once a year, especially as tenants will be making the most of their heating once temperatures are low.
With many renters likely to be working from home, it could be worth getting an extra service. As long as your tenants are not self-isolating, they can allow a plumber into the property to check the boiler works efficiently which will keep them warm and your property in good condition.
With long, dark nights drawing in, it’s wise to double check that all security alarms and lights are working in your rental property or investing in some if you haven’t already.
Due to the current tiered local restrictions system, tenants will likely remain indoors more than usual this Christmas. However, with less natural light, a visible alarm can still be a good deterrent. You may also want to confirm that your tenants don’t leave expensive items on display which could attract thieves when they are out the property.
Even with all of these checks in place, accidents can still occur, particularly if the weather really does take a turn.
Therefore, you should ensure your current home insurance is up to date and check the policy gives sufficient protection for any weather-related damage – particularly to your boiler and roof.
Here at Eden Estates, we operate in a number of locations across Kent and can help you to get the most from your property investment while sticking to government guidelines. For more information on our services, get in touch with us today.
To find out how much you could be charging in rent each month, you can request a free, instant estimate here.