As Summer quickly fades away and Autumn is upon us, our thoughts turn to Winter, especially if we own property.
The UK winter is particularly hard on property fabric with frost damage, burst pipes, damp and increased condensation all a real possibility, especially if the occupier does not take some basic precautions.
As Winter comes, here are a few ideas to help make it less stressful and expensive.
- Make sure your tenants know where the stop cock and fuse board are located and how to isolate them.
- Ensure your tenant has all the correct contact information for you and/or your managing agent so that in an emergency no time is lost mitigating damage.
- Educate your tenant on the importance of keeping heating on low whilst they are out. Frozen pipes can easily be avoided if heating is kept running, even low, over the winter period.
- Make sure that the roof is properly insulated and that external taps are either isolated or well insulated to avoid burst pipes.
- Check ventilation in rooms where there is a gas fire or open flame. Make sure that fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working and change batteries if necessary.
- Make sure that any external garden furniture (that belongs to you) is put into storage.
- Repaint or treat window sills and door frames where needed to protect them from the winter.
- Replace any frost damaged bricks before the winter comes.
- Clear out all gutters after Autumn, especially valley gutters, to avoid flooding and associated damage.
- Make sure that your tenants understand how condensation can build up and cause damp and damage to windows and walls. Most damp issues that arise during winter can be traced to tenants not properly ventilating kitchens, bathrooms and utilities during the winter months.