This time of year is when landlords should start thinking about the routine property maintenance and other jobs that should be carried out before winter hits. Not only are the winter months more likely to see low temperatures and adverse weather events that can damage properties, but it’s also a period when contractors – particularly plumbers – are at their busiest. So it’s sensible to get your rental property structure and all its fittings and services in the best possible condition before the end of autumn.
5 top tips:
- Book your annual gas safety check and a boiler service ideally for October (or when required annually), to ensure the heating system is in the best possible condition ahead of the cold weather. Bear in mind that appointments at this time of year will book up quickly, so the earlier in the year you can get yours in the diary, the better.
- Towards the end of autumn, have a contractor clear the guttering and drains so rainwater doesn’t pool and risk flooding your property.
- Check the exterior for anything that could leave the property vulnerable to water ingress – that’s things like cracks in walls and chimney stacks, missing roof tiles, broken guttering and failed seals on doors and windows.
- If there is garden furniture, store it away in a shed or garage so that it won’t be liable to cause or suffer damage in severe weather – high winds can easily turn a chair into a dangerous missile!
- Make sure your tenants have a list of emergency contact numbers and know what to do in case of an incident at the property.
As a landlord, you’ve got to bear in mind is that tenants won’t necessarily take the same care of your rental property as you do of your own home. They may not report minor problems until they’ve become big issues and because they’re not responsible for repairing any damage that the property might suffer over winter, they may not think about taking precautionary measures, e.g. keeping the heating on low to avoid the risk of burst pipes. This is why it’s essential to do regular periodic inspections so your agent always knows about work required or as a landlord you can spot things before they get much worse.
The value of having a professional managing agent
We find many self-managing landlords don’t want to ‘bother’ tenants once they’ve moved in – with some not visiting the property at all until the tenant checks out, even if that amounts to several years! And if tenants don’t communicate issues, that’s when properties can start to fall into disrepair and become vulnerable to the elements.
Having a properly qualified managing agent gives you the peace of mind that you’re not at risk of this happening to you and your property, as our service includes:
- Periodical property inspections. We carry out regular property inspections on behalf of our landlords and always make sure the property is checked ahead of winter and after any especially bad weather. That means we spot maintenance issues and can get them fixed before they become a big problem.
- Scheduling of regular maintenance and servicing. Gas and electrical safety checks are diarised, and we will also handle the booking of any other servicing or work that our landlords want or need. We arrange access for jobs, follow up to ensure works have been carried out as needed, and ensure you have access to all the information relating to both pending and completed maintenance, including copy invoices, via your online landlord account.
- Access to a roster of reliable, experienced contractors. There’s always a higher number of property issues and emergencies in winter than at other times of the year, and if you’re an individual trying to get something fixed, it can be hugely time consuming and frustrating trying to pin down a contractor. But if we manage your property, you reap the benefit of us having a tried and tested network of contractors that we know will respond quickly and carry out any works to the required standard.
If you currently self-manage or have our Let Only or Rent Collection service, and you’d like to talk to us about the benefits of being Fully Managed, just get in touch with your local branch and one of the lettings management team will be very happy to help.