With the winter season fast approaching, it’s time to look at your properties and ensure they’re ready for the cold weather. A 2022 Bloomberg article revealed that the frequency of rains has increased in London during the fall and winter seasons. UK’s Met Office weather experts observed that the increase is steadily rising over the past few decades and it’s expected to rise further.
All this rain can cause damage to properties and that can threaten your rental yields. Once the cold gets too much to result in snow flurries, that can add to the problems that can compromise the integrity of your properties.
Fortunately, you can minimise the damage to property that the winter season and heavy rainfall can bring.
In this article, you’ll get useful tips that’ll help you prepare your flat for the coming winter.
Tip #1: Start with the heating systems
First of all, your tenants would need to keep warm. Check the heating system of your property to ensure that it’s working properly.
Second, your tenants would be spending more time indoors. Expect that they will use the heater and other electrical appliances more because they’ll prefer to stay indoors to stay dry or get out of the cold.
Check the furnaces, boilers, AC units, fireplaces, and other portable heaters that you’ve installed in your flat. Make sure these are working and have recently been maintained to avoid breaking down in the middle of the winter season.
Clean chimneys and get your fireplace ready to be used during the cold winter nights.
Tip #2: Opt for energy efficiency
Since your tenants will be consuming more energy while they stay indoors, check how you can save on electricity. This will benefit you if the energy costs are included in the rental fee.
Go through all your properties and check the windows and doors for any cracks or drafts. Reseal them or replace broken ones before the winter kicks in.
Depending on your budget, replace the light fixtures and electrical appliances with energy-efficient alternatives. This will lower your energy consumption – and it’ll make your flat more sustainable as well.
Speaking of energy, the winter season is also a time when consumption is so high that power outages and blown fuses are more likely to happen. Put enough flashlights around the house and label the fuse box properly so your tenants will know what to do. In case you have a backup generator, provide instructions on how to turn it on safely.
Tip #3: Get rid of fire hazards
The Christmas holiday is a big part of the winter season. More often than not, your tenants would want to decorate their spaces to celebrate. Without wanting to be a Grinch about it, put rules in place to ensure that the decorations won’t endanger the property and consume too much energy.
According to City Fire, house fires are one of the most serious hazards during the Christmas season. Strictly implement your rules about the holiday decor. Encourage battery-operated decors instead of electric ones.
You should probably look for other fire hazards in your properties as well. As people stay indoors, you’d expect them to cook more and have the fireplace on to keep warm. They might also think about lighting candles to set the mood.
While you can’t prohibit these acts, you need to check your alarms to ensure they are working. This will alert tenants of rising smoke or carbon monoxide dangers.
Refill fire extinguishers and have an electrician check the whole flat for faulty wiring or appliances.
Tip #4: Check around the house
Once you’re done looking within the property, walk around the house to check for potential hazards. The winter season brings a combination of rain, wind and possibly even some snow. Check the roof for leaks that can lead to moulds and mildew. Look at the gutter and rainwater pipes. Clear any debris that has been stuck there during the fall season. While you’re at it, check for loose shingles so you can have them fixed.
Insulate the pipes, especially the exposed ones, to keep them from bursting in case the temperature dips low enough for them to freeze. Check for corrosion and cracks, too.
Look for trees and branches that might fall on someone or damage the property. If you have old trees surrounding the property, check their stability. It might be best to have these trimmed just in case.
Tip #5: Talk to tenants
The last thing that you need to do is to coordinate with your tenants about the safety of the property during this season. They are your eyes and ears after all. Meet with them or send them a list of instructions and reminders.
Among the things that you should discuss are the following:
- Tenants are responsible for turning off holiday decorations, lights, and other unused electrical devices when they step out of the house or while they sleep.
- Give them energy-saving reminders. For instance, tenants should turn off heaters or radiators that are next to an open window. Feel free to give them other energy-saving reminders as they apply to your properties.
- Tenants are strictly prohibited from turning off smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.
Inform them of the penalties that’ll be imposed when they violate any of your rules.
In case you have full-furnished homes, provide instructions so tenants know how to safely use the stove, oven, and other electrical appliances.
You should also provide instructions on what tenants should do in case of emergencies. Leave a number that they can use to get in touch with you or your property manager. You can also put a list of emergency numbers (fire, police, etc.) so they’ll know who to contact.
Be a proactive landlord this winter…
A responsible landlord should get ahead of the negative impact of the changing seasons. As we go from fall to winter, you have to be prepared for the effects of the colder temperature on your properties.
Of course, this is more challenging if you’re managing multiple properties. But with the help of a trusted property management company, you’ll have a better chance at preparing your properties in time for the winter season.
Our award-winning short-let property management service includes maintenance and cleaning. In the event of a problem, our in-house services can respond to your guests, fix the issue and clean up afterwards. Read more about the services we provide for hosts and guests.
Find out how City Relay can help winter-proof your properties. Send us a message so we can talk about your portfolio goals.