Winterproof your investment property

Posted: 4th Dec 2017

Widespread snow and ice have already caused transport chaos and building damage in the UK. Now that we’re in the dead of winter, how effectively did you remember to protect your investment property against the ravages of the elements?

Since there’s still time to prevent any further damage to any residential or commercial property in which you have invested, here are some tips and suggestions for catching up with those winterproofing measures:

What your tenants say

  • there is one winterproofing measure that may be easily overlooked, but comes completely free of charge – just talk to your tenants about any issues they want to raise as the weather gets colder, suggest letting agents Mackenzie Smith;
  • your conversation might bring to light problems that can be nipped in the bud before they become a major issue, with the potential for causing damage to your property if it is unaddressed or, at the very least, sour the relationship with your tenants;

Insulation

  • when it’s cold outside, of course, you want to keep it warm inside – and to make the most of the energy you and your tenants consume doing just that, you need to insulate the building well;
  • insulation repays itself in two ways – it helps prevents pipes freezing and the inevitable escape of water when they burst, but your tenants will also thank you for the reduction in energy bills by keeping inside more of the heat generated;

Semi-heated spaces

  • Buildings magazine warns not to overlook spaces that you keep semi-heated – in common areas of your let property, for example;
  • an ambient temperature of between 45ºF and 50 ºF (7.2ºC and 10ºC) is recommended;

Heaters and boilers

  • to keep the heat in, you first need to generate it – and, as the landlord, providing a working heating system for your tenants in winter is a basic obligation;
  • check that electric, gas, and open fires are working (ensuring that the required carbon monoxide detectors are functioning too) and have any central heating boiler professionally serviced;
  • that is also the time to check the plumbing system more generally, making sure that valves and fittings are not leaking and that electrical controls and thermostats are working properly;

Keeping the water out

  • keep the warmth in, but the water out;
  • hopefully, you remembered to check the condition of the roof, guttering and other rainwater goods before the onset of the worst of winter’s storms;
  • it’s not too late – but you or your tradesman will want to do it when the weather is relatively clement – so, check for dislodged slates or tiles on the roof and unblock gutters and downpipes to clear them of leaves and other debris that has been blown in on winter winds;

Alarms

  • smoke alarms are all the more important during the festive season, when candles and other naked flames may increase the risk of fire – so, make sure that the batteries are fully charged, and the devices are functioning;
  • the same goes for any security systems you might have installed – they help to protect your investment property but also add to the sense of safety enjoyed by your tenants.

Winterproofing your investment property is unlikely to take a great deal of time or money, but the work done in securing the premises and making them safer and healthier for your tenants is almost certain to pay dividends.