Ahead of the winter season (which is rapidly approaching), landlords are urged to put safety first. Doing so will help keep properties free from hazards before the weather takes a turn.
Winter’s colder temperatures and more unpredictable weather will be a prompt for landlords – or letting agents on their behalf - to ensure maintenance work is carried out.
Landlords who conduct the appropriate fixes and checks will fulfil their legal obligations to keep their property safe. They will also have peace of mind knowing that their homes are compliant.
By paying attention to the following factors, landlords can safeguard their homes this winter. This includes:
- Smoke/carbon monoxide alarms
- Crime deterrents
- Indoor temperature
- Insurance policies
- Frost damage
- Tenant information
- Professional assistance
Test your smoke/carbon monoxide alarms
During winter, fires are a potential hazard because heaters and other electrical items are used more frequently.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must be checked during the change of season. Smoke detectors are known for causing false alarms during colder seasons when condensation is in the detection chamber.
Smoke alarms typically operate between 4-38 degrees Celsius. If it is not working effectively, it should be replaced by one that is not affected by condensation.
Invest in crime deterrents
According to UK Crime Stats, burglaries and antisocial behaviour are the most common crimes around winter - particularly from December to January.
Vacant properties often capture the attention of thieves. Therefore, landlords should have a protocol if tenants are away for festive or winter breaks.
Homes that have visible deterrents including alarms and CCTV can help deter criminal activity.
Maintain safe indoor temperatures
Issues with the home that cause freezing indoor temperatures can be damaging to a tenant’s health and safety.
Gov.uk defines a cold home as one that cannot maintain temperatures between 18°C to 21°C at a reasonable cost to the person occupying the home.
Therefore, landlords must ensure the heating is working, the minimum EPC rating is achieved and carry out fixes to improve the indoor temperature if required.
Consider an insurance policy
The help that landlord insurance can provide should not be overlooked. With so many insurance options available, landlords can tailor their plans to keep their home safe and secure - not only during winter, but all-year round.
Landlord home emergency cover and landlord boiler breakdown cover could be particularly useful ahead of the winter.
Frost damage prevention
Changes to the weather could put homes at risk of damage and impact on tenant safety. For example, cold weather is often associated with clogged pipes as they are more liable to freeze, expand and burst during this time of year.
Landlords should also keep a close eye on drains, roofs, insulation and boilers. Doing this ahead of the possibility of frost damage will help protect your rented properties.
Hire a professional
It may be tempting to carry out fixes around the home yourself in hope of making a saving. However, this could be risky. It is usually the best course of action to hire a professional for peace of mind and a safe outcome.
Always seek the assistance of a local letting agent when it comes to maintenance issues. They will have years of experience not only in the industry but also in your area - and will likely have a book of contacts they can turn to for any scenario.
By focusing on all seven factors outlined in this blog, you can help shield yourself from potential damage and issues this winter, while keeping your tenants safe and content as well..
At Howland Jones, we will do all we can to help you get the most from your rental properties. Our offices are based in the village of Measham in the East Midlands, and we operate within a 20-mile radius of our base, giving us extensive knowledge of the local area.
You can find out all about us by getting in contact here.