How to get your HMO rental property ready for winter
The winter months can take its toll on buildings in cold weather regions and it is important for landlords to take the necessary steps to prepare. Being on top of routine maintenance is part and parcel of becoming a landlord and winter is the most crucial time for this.
Ultimately, taking a little time to prepare now will ensure you will have to spend less time and money on plumbing, roofing, and other potential repairs as the weather turns colder.
Inform your tenants
It is important to inform your tenants of what they will need to do to keep the property warm and safe from the winter conditions. Don’t assume that they already know how to deal with cold weather and how to best keep the property warm.
Leave the heating and lights on
Remind tenants of their responsibilities over the Christmas period. Ask them to leave the heating on if they are planning to be out of the property for an extended period of time to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting due to the cold temperatures. It may also be a good idea to set timers for lights to avoid break ins during the quieter times.
Set all alarms
Every habitable floor of a rental property must have a working smoke alarm – and any room with a solid fuel appliance should be equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm. If you do feel worried about break-ins over the Christmas break, you may also want to consider fitting a burglar alarm to the property.
Consider getting a boiler service
While it is a legal requirement for all landlords to have a Gas Safe engineer, check the gas systems on an annual basis, it may also be worthwhile getting a full boiler service to ensure there are no issues ahead of the crucial winter months.
Condensation occurs when moist warm air, e.g. steam from showering or cooking, comes into contact with any surface of a lower temperature. It can form on any surface and may not be noticed until mould starts to grow or materials show signs of rotting. Top tips for reducing condensation include:
- Ensuring room temperatures do not dip below 15 degrees, even when tenants are away
- Provide clothes stands to avoid washing being dried on radiators
- Ensure tumble dryers are vented to the outdoors
- Implement humidity-controlled fans in key areas, such as the Kitchen and Bathrooms
Inspect the roof
Check the roof and chimney for broken or cracked slates that can come loose during heavy weather. It is also important to check that gutters are completely clear and free of dirt and debris as they could lead to leaks and other problems.
For further advice on keeping your buy-to-let up to scratch and problem free, join my HMO and Property Community Group via Facebook here.