During these winter months, landlords can easily overlook the importance of ensuring that the temperature of your property does not fall below freezing. Your tenant might be more concerned about their own comfort than the welfare of your investment. But what happens if they decide to fly to some winter the sun for a couple of weeks?
Temperatures falling below zero for more than a day or so can spell serious trouble unless your heating kicks in, yet your tenant may well turn the heating off to save money when they are away sunning or skiing. A frozen pipe will only be noticeable during a thaw, when mains pressure water can drown a house in minutes, causing extensive damage and even a compensation claim by the tenant who actually caused it!
So here are our top five tips to keep your property warm and dry during the winter:
- Ask your tenant to keep the central heating on low tick-over right through the winter months. Not only will this prevent the property from freezing, but it will also prevent the water pump from seizing through lack of use (for the same reason, it’s also worth turning it on momentarily each week during the summer too).
- Sudden cold temperatures can freeze your boiler’s external condensate pipe, which can close the boiler down, which is the most common cause of engineer call-outs. So ensure your tenant tells you if they are going to be away for more than a couple of days during the winter and give you access if things suddenly get really chilly.
- Make sure you and your tenant know exactly where the mains water stopcock is. In the event of a leak, seconds count in terms of avoiding potential flood-damage.
- If your radiators don’t seem to be fully warm, especially near the top, there may be air trapped inside that needs to be released. Make sure your tenant has a radiator bleed key and knows how to use it.
- Have your boiler serviced annually. Not only is this a legal requirement for gas boilers in rented properties, but should your boiler fail during a cold spell, this will inevitably be the time when you can’t get hold of an overworked heating engineer.