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Is your landlord property ready for seasonal changes?

After a sunny summer the prospect of dark evenings, colder temperatures and wet weather may seem pleasantly remote, but as a residential property landlord this is the time to be thinking about ensuring your rental property is ready to face the winter. So what steps should you be taking to make sure it is in the best shape it can be?

Property inspections

Do you carry out regular inspections on your property? The purpose of a property inspection is to check on its overall condition and ensure that everything is in good working order and a good state of repair. Carrying out a quarterly inspection to coincide with the changing of the seasons is an excellent opportunity to identify any potential issues before they become a problem.

Maximise ventilation and minimise mould

Are your tenants keeping the windows clean and free of moisture? Good ventilation is essential for preventing the build up of mould but in colder weather it’s easy to forget to open a window or make sure an air vent is open. An early autumn visit is a good time to remind your tenants of the importance of keeping fresh air circulating. You can also use the opportunity to check pipe work, especially those that are less visible, such as pipes hidden away in kitchen and bathroom units. It is also worth testing any extractor fans to make sure they’re all working and not clogged up with dirt.

Fire and fumes

Avoiding potential fire hazards is important at any time of year, but the risks increase with the use of electric or gas heaters, which should be checked and serviced regularly and covered by a valid safety certificate. You should also ensure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in full working order.

Exterior maintenance

Regular maintenance can save valuable time and money in the long run. As a landlord you are usually responsible for keeping the structure and exterior of the property in good repair, including drains, gutters and external pipes. At this time of year in particular, falling leaves can quickly block gutters, especially when combined with seasonal rainfall.

Is your garden green?

If your rental property has a garden, does the tenancy agreement specify that it is your tenant’s responsibility to maintain it? If so, now is a good time to check that everything is neat and ready for the change of weather. It can be worth reminding your tenants of the importance of keeping rubbish in the bins provided and making sure that the surrounding area is free of other refuse to avoid attracting vermin or creating a safety hazard.

Home and away

Are your tenants likely to be leaving the property vacant for any period of time, for instance if they travel over the festive season? Tenancy agreements often require them to inform the landlord if the property is left vacant for 14 days or more, so a seasonal inspection can be a good opportunity to remind them of this.

As a landlord it is important to make sure that you have sufficient buildings and liability cover in place. This is to ensure that your property is protected from loss or damage due to events such as fire, storms, burglary or vandalism. It is also designed to protect you from claims for any injury sustained by your tenants or other members of the public within your property.

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