Winter maintenance tips for landlords in York

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The Shambles, York, in winter

On top of all the responsibilities that landlords in York face, this is the time of year when they have another responsibility to ensure that their rental property is protected against bad weather.

At this time, preparation is key because the damage that can be caused by frost, heavy rain and snow can be tough on many properties and this Redmove guide should help prepare the property in key areas.

However, it’s not just landlords who aren’t looking forward to the effect that winter weather brings, a survey by British Gas recently showed that 49% of those asked were not looking forward to winter either!

They cited worries about whether their property would hold up to the strong winds and freezing temperatures along with heavy rain and snowfall that the UK winter brings.

In addition, here at Redmove we cannot stress enough that landlords in Yorkhave a legal obligation to ensure the comfort and well-being of their tenants so if you have been putting off any repairs or preparations, then now is the time to spring into action.

Remember too that as one of the leading letting agents in York, Redmove is always pleased to offer a professional and supportive service to its landlord clients.

Check the heating system

The first and most important check that any landlord must undertake at their rental property is that the heating works properly and effectively.

As part of the annual gas safety check, most boilers will have been serviced for winter operation but the landlord will also need to check the radiators and pipes for leaks and airlocks.

If the rental property is empty, and is likely to be so for some time yet, then it’s worthwhile to drain the heating system altogether to ensure there are no problems with burst pipes in freezing weather.

Have you got a flood risk?

This issue of burst pipes brings us to the risk of flooding in a property.

A burst pipe will cause serious damage to property and a landlord will be responsible for helping to rehome their tenant who suffers with a flooding.

To help ensure this does not happen, a landlord should protect any exterior pipes with suitable insulation sleeves and ensure that other pipes are also insulated.

Insulation is crucial

Once a landlord has checked their heating system pipes are properly insulated, then it’s time to check that their loft insulation is also up to standard. If it isn’t, a grant from the local council may be available to upgrade it.

Loft insulation is a great way to help tenants save money on their heating bills and landlords should also consider using double or secondary glazing as well as cavity wall insulation to help reduce heating bills further.

This question of insulation also extends to helping reduce draughts, so check the windows, door frames and doors and apply the relevant sealant if necessary.

landlords in York should inspect the external building

Those are the crucial interior checks that are necessary but most of the damage in winter will be caused to the exterior of the building and time should be taken to make sure everything is checked thoroughly.

This means a landlord will need to check the outside windows, walls, roof and doors for any damage that has already been caused and what the likelihood is of more damage being triggered. If there is any peeling paintwork then it will need to be repainted before the bad weather sets in and it freezes to cause more damage.

It’s also important to replace any roof tiles that are cracked and inspect the chimney pot (if your property has one!). This may also be an opportunity for a landlord to have the chimney itself checked and swept.

Landlords should also inspect the drains and gutters, ensure they are clean and allow rainwater to flow freely. Remove any moss that has built-up and if pointing needs to be repointed then do it urgently.

It may come as an afterthought for many landlords in York but the paths and paved areas of a property will need to be checked as well. This is because water on a paving slab will freeze in very cold weather which will be dangerous for a tenant as well as a visitor.

Check your landlord’s insurance

Check your landlord's insurance policy carefully

Check your landlord’s insurance policy carefully

The issue of people suing for compensation means that a landlord will need to ensure that their rental property insurance covers them for such eventualities. Here at Redmove we continuously stress that a standard insurance policy for a property is not suitable for a rental property.

Landlords must buy specific rental property insurance to ensure they are covered for every eventuality because a standard property insurance policy will probably be invalid if the property has tenants.

This insurance cover for a landlord will also need to detail what cover is provided for flooding from burst pipes and any exterior damage caused by winter weather.

What tenants need to know

The landlord should never assume that a tenant will know what to do when a property is damaged in winter. It’s advisable for a landlord to put an information pack together which will detail where the stopcock is (this could be a vital piece of information), how to operate the boiler and who they should contact should there be any damage.

It’s also worth highlighting that should the tenant leave the property empty for a length of time, even if it’s just for a day or two, then they should leave the central heating system on so that the pipes do not freeze.

Landlords, as well as tenants, should also have a few items available in case of emergency. Essentially, this will mean a basic toolkit and a torch so a minor emergency can be dealt with, or at least, tackled.

Rental property emergency contact details

If your tenant is unsure of who they should contact in an emergency then give them your contact details (though it’s also a requirement for a tenant to know who their landlord is and how to contact them) or choose to give them the contact details of the letting agent.

By carrying out these basic checks, a landlords in York will help prevent the prospect of having to deal with various problems and emergencies, which will inevitably cost time and money.

There’s no doubt that dealing with these small and niggly jobs to prepare for the worst that winter will bring will be time well spent.

For more information on what York letting agents Redmove can do to help prepare and look after a rental property in winter, then contact the experts on 01904 488 444.

 

More information

Redmove prides itself on being a lettings agent that is answerable to York’s landlords and to the industry’s leading organisations and so they conform to guidelines and codes of practice. Redmove are members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and The Property Ombudsman (TPO). The firm is also registered with the Trading Standards Institute (TSI). For any property investor or landlord in York, Redmove offers the best levels of experience and expertise and can be contacted on 01904 488 444 or visit their website to find out more.


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