It’s that time of year again! After an unseasonably warm December, the temperature has started to drop and the winter chills are here.

For landlords, the winter months come with additional risks to property management that they will need to consider and factor into their plans in order to keep their rental property protected.

Here at Key Property Consultants, we list the all-important steps that landlords can take to ensure their rental property survives the seasonal upheaval.

Insulate to keep the cold at bay

A well-insulated home is crucial for keeping potential hazards at bay and ensuring your tenants are warm and content.

Fortunately, there are a few cost-effective ways to draught-proof the small areas throughout your home and retain the heat.

Check for draughts around the edges of window frames, gaps under doors and around the letterbox. Draught-excluders are available to purchase online, which will block these openings. Meanwhile, sealing the windows and other small gaps is effective enough to keep the cold out this winter.

Insulating the walls, while a more costly method, is a key part of having a thermal-efficient home. Although the average budget for renovating a full home can cost up to £7,000, the savings that come from doing so are worthwhile.

A better insulated home is also a more energy-efficient one – and, with this now an increasingly important factor for tenants, it’s something that all landlords need to be prioritising as much as possible.

Clear the gutters and drainpipes

Keeping the gutters and drainpipes clear of leaves, litter and other debris will save you plenty of hassle in the long run.

Clogged or damaged gutters can lead to serious issues over time. If gutters or drains are left to clog up, there can be a build-up of excess water which can potentially damage exterior walls or leak into the property itself, causing costly damage.

With your tenants more likely to stay put this winter, it could be worthwhile asking them to carry out this simple task on an infrequent basis as a preventative measure.

Similarly, pipes that are blocked or leaking can potentially freeze, expand and burst during the winter months. To prevent this, wrap lagging around external pipes or pipes in cold areas such as the garage. This will stop pipes from freezing and will avoid blockages and burst pipes. 

Whether located inside or outside, if you or your tenants spot a frozen pipe, consider using a hot water bottle or a hairdryer to apply warmth and melt the blockage.

Thoroughly check the boiler 

As well as checking the cladding around your boiler and pipes to ensure that taps and faucets aren’t leaking, you will also need to inspect the boiler’s pressure. 

Generally, the pressure should be between one and two bars. The pressure gauge can be found on the front of the boiler (or underneath it where the pipes are) and will either be a dial or a digital display. If it’s too high or too low, contact a Gas Safe engineer to make sure the pressure is right. 

With a recent push to phase out gas boilers by 2025 and use alternative heating systems such as low carbon heat pumps in new-build homes, it’s even more important that your boiler is up to standard and working efficiently.

Of course, while not every landlord is required to get rid of their existing gas boiler, it could be time to weigh your options and invest in greener alternatives.

It is also advisable to ask tenants to maintain warmth throughout the property to avoid damp and condensation leading to mould, and to avoid pipes freezing in the colder weather.

Here at Key Property Consultants, we can help you to manage your rental property this year, ensuring you get the most from your tenancy as a result. For more information on how we can assist you on your lettings journey in South London, contact us today.

You can also get an idea of how much rent you could be charging each month by using our free instant online valuation tool here.

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