Winter is a dangerous time for landlords. The cold weather poses some potentially expensive problems for your property.
It is vital that you carry out some basic winter maintenance to keep your property safe. But in addition to this, you should make sure that your tenants have all the necessary information to keep the property in good order.
Well-informed tenants are amongst the most important ways in which you can protect your property. So what do they need to know?
1. Contact details
Make sure that your tenants know how to get in touch with you in the event of an emergency. If you will also be away, or if you don’t live within easy reach of the property, make sure that they know how to get in touch with your property manager or another relevant individual.
2. Stopcock location
Your tenants will need to know where to find the stopcock in the event of a plumbing emergency. Make sure that they also know how to operate it, and what to do if an emergency does occur.
3. Heating instructions
Burst pipes and other potentially expensive problems can be prevented by ensuring that the heating remains on low during cold spells. Make sure that your tenants understand how the heating system works. If they are going away over Christmas, make sure that they either leave the heating on low, or that they use the timer to ensure it comes on regularly.
4. Lighting timers
Again, if your tenants are going away over the Christmas period (or, indeed, at any time during the year), you might consider having a lighting timer system fitted. This can be an effective way of reducing the chances of burglary.
5. Fuse box location
This is pretty basic, but you should make sure that your tenants know where to find the fuse box. You might also consider leaving a torch in an obvious location (for example the kitchen) in order to make sure that they can find it in the event that a fuse is blown or a switch tripped.
Condensation can damage paintwork and fixtures and fittings, and is a particular problem during the winter months. Condensation is most commonly found in poorly heated, ventilated, or insulated properties. Make sure that tenants keep rooms properly ventilated, and that an even temperature is maintained throughout the property, in order to reduce condensation.
7. Frost protection
Finally, make sure that your tenants understand how best to prevent frost damage. Much of the responsibility here lies with you; you should make sure, for example, that your pipes are properly insulated. But you can reduce the potential for burst pipes by ensuring that heating is left on low or on a timer.