Landlords Guide: ‘Tis the Season to Protect Your Property

Brrr…. as the weather grows colder, the landlords among us know what’s coming. But at the root of all complaints raised by tenants, our due diligence tells us to ensure those living in our properties are safe, happy and well. Winter associated damage comes with a lot of stress and unnecessary costs, don’t you think?

Burglary

Christmas is fast approaching, which means `high risk` goods will be purchased, and the value of your tenants’ house contents will increase. Tenants carrying multiple shopping bags whilst fumbling with their keys will scream `burgle me`.

What can I advise my tenants do?

  • Encourage tenants to use timers, illuminating the property when it’s vacant. With the nights growing dark early, it is vital to give burglars every reason not to target.
  • Ask tenants to avoid leaving spare keys in the vicinity of the property- but with trusted neighbours, friends or relatives instead.
  • Ensure your tenants bolt down the hatches; including doors, windows and conservatories. Any area can be a target- even the most reputable or affluent.
  • Make sure your tenants inform you of any faulty locks, doors or windows, or of any other fault jeopardising the property’s security.
  • Encourage your tenants to pop back to the property every few days, or to ask a trusted friend to drive by and check on the house.

 

open windows pic

BOLT DOWN THE HATCHES: Winter’s coming

Frozen pipes

Frozen pipes are a classic problem among vacant properties, especially with students going home for Christmas. There’s nothing worse than arriving home after travelling, and realising your shower is colder than the North Pole. Frozen pipes can actually burst, so be prepared for this one!

What can I advise my tenants do?

  • Instruct your tenants to trickle water through the faucet, so they are dripping when not in use (But while making sure the plug isn’t in!)
  • Keep cabinet doors open if the boiler is located within one.
  • Ask your tenants to put the heating on a timer, to warm up the pipes while they’re away.
  • Most landlords hold tenants responsible for frozen pipes, so they may ask a friend to pop by if they are away for a long period of time.

Damp

Condensation is a main culprit of damp, but it’s easy to regulate if you target problem areas early on, such as hallways and bathrooms. Damp will make your properties feel cold, and can age furniture very quickly. If your tenants suffer with asthma or respiratory issues, they are likely to get poorly as a result, too.

What does damp look like?

  • Black or grey marks in a mottled pattern
  • Windows filled with condensation
  • A musty smell in the air
  • Walls which are cold to the touch

What can I advise my tenants do?

  • They can ventilate the property by leaving a window ajar, being mindful to lock it afterwards.
  • Suggest they regulate a steady temperature within the home, by leaving heating on longer at a lower setting.
  • Ensure your tenants avoid drying clothes on radiators, and instead recommend they use a clothes horse/maiden propped up nearby.
  • In addition, ensure your tenants use pans with lids when cooking, as the steam will cause excess condensation.

 

KEEP IT FRESH: Ventilate key areas

Insulation

Insulation helps to reduce heat loss or gain, by providing a barrier between spaces that differ in temperature. Imagine an old loft space bunked on a nicely heated home; cold is bound to seep through eventually! And no matter how new your heating system is, that lovely hot air will escape upon rising. According to Wickes, you can save approximately £150 on your energy bills by insulating your loft.

What should I insulate?

  • The roof, and any accessible loft space
  • Gaps around door frames with wide edges, which will act as `draft excluders`
  • Floors, which can be insulated by carpeting or re-carpeting
  • Install double-glazing, if windows are still single-glazed

 

Landlords Insurance with The Insurance Octopus

There are many risks associated with renting property out to tenants, as any building can be susceptible to damage from natural causes such as storm or fire damage. Property rental requires investment in time and money, which is why a landlords insurance policy from The Insurance Octopus will help to protect your business security.

 


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