It may feel like the summer has only just ended, but now is the perfect time to start to prepare your rental home for the colder months. Some property insurers report that around 30% of claims are made during winter, so as a landlord, just what do you need to do to protect your property.
Unfortunately, winter is often the season where properties seem to develop faults, whether its broken boilers or leaking guttering, this is the season we see a peak in calls to arrange emergency repairs. Rather than wait for the inevitable, here’s our quick guide to how you can protect your rental property before something costly happens.
As a landlord it is your legal obligation to ensure your gas boiler is inspected each year and that a gas safety certificate is provided to your tenant. If you can, it’s worth timing this inspection to take place in the autumn, and to carry out a full service at the same time.
But it’s not just gas boilers that can cause the central heating to fail. Radiators that haven’t been used for a while could need bleeding. Plus, as the temperature falls, there’s a risk of freezing pipes and therefore it’s a good idea to inspect pipes for any signs of cracks or damage that could be exacerbated once the thermometer reads zero.
Gutters and drains
Now that the leaves have fallen from the trees, you may want to consider inspecting the gutters in your rental property and clearing away leaves. Likewise, drains packed with dead leaves can cause problems and so these should be cleared out too.
Fences and gates
At this time of year, we’re more prone to heavy winds and storms. Inspecting fences and gates and reinforcing the joints can help prevent them falling victim to the wind.
Check your insurance
Now is also a good time to check your insurance documents. A comprehensive insurance policy designed especially for landlords could prove to be a godsend if the wintry weather does wreak havoc on your rented home.
Just like a home-owner policy, specialist cover for landlords can protect against things like escape of water, or damaged fences. Some polices may cover your boiler – although they are often restricted to boilers under a certain age that have been serviced regularly. However, specialist policies may also cover emergency accommodation for your tenants in the event of a disaster that means they’re unable to remain within the home.
Although holding specialist insurance as a landlord isn’t a legal requirement, some mortgages specify this. Speak to your local branch for more information about landlord insurance.