23rd September 2017
Before the really cold months set in, here are some of my top tips for winter proofing your property:
1. Don’t ignore the small print
Is the tenant aware of what is required as agreed in the tenancy agreement? Most tenancy agreements require tenants to take such reasonable actions expected of a householder, particularly between the months of October to February, by heating the premises to prevent damage by frost or freezing.
2. Decide on responsibilities
If the property will be vacant for any period of time, over Christmas for example, the tenant should ensure that the last person to leave the property for the unoccupied duration carries out simple tasks like clearing out fridges/freezers and turning off electric devices at the wall.
3. Heating is key
While the most effective way of heating a home will vary from property to property, tenants planning extended periods away should always remember to leave heating on at a low level, for example 12c, which avoid the possibility of freezing to the plumbing/heating systems, prevent condensation and also which should be enough to prevent mildew and mould growth. The most effective way to achieve this is not to have the heating on for one hour in the mornings and evenings, but to leave it on constantly, with the boiler thermostat set to “low” or “min” and the room thermostats set to 12c. Radiator valves should be left fully open, and any thermostatic radiator valves turned up to “max”. If the tenant is out daily, they should ensure that the heating is put on for a period of time in the evening, the easiest thing to do is to set the timer. This will ensure pipes do not freeze and avoids damp in the property.
4. Water systems and pipes
Leaks must be reported to you as soon as possible, and the leak lagged until it can be dealt with. Make sure that the tenant is aware of the location of stop taps and that they are easy to shut-off in case of an emergency. Advise them to check on waste pipes and heating boiler overflow pipes to ensure they are not getting iced up.
5. Get to know the neighbours
If your tenant knows their neighbours, they may wish to ask them to keep emergency contact details and also your contact details or your agent’s contact details. This is particularly vital in flats and apartments where an issue could rapidly cause problems for other homes in the block.
Look out for more tips in my next article. In the meanwhile, if you need my help, please get in touch!