It’s been a summer to rival that of the infamous heatwave of 1976, with record-breaking temperatures spanning weeks. As such, with such extreme temperatures seen this year – such as the Beast from the East! – seasonal maintenance has never been more essential for landlords.
As specialist Landlord Insurance providers (www.justlandlords.co.uk/landlord-insurance), we know a thing or two about the most common claims and problems regarding our clients’ properties. As such, we’re here to help point out a few things to help prevent smaller issues becoming bigger (and more expensive!) ones in the long run.
Conduct periodic inspections
If you haven’t done so already, you should take the time to carefully inspect your property. These visits should be made every quarter for new tenancies, or bi-annually for the properties you feel more confident in!
After you’ve arranged a suitable time with your tenants to inspect the property, make sure to check conditions against the initial inventory report. This means you can see how things may have changed in recent months, or things that could potentially become a problem in the future. Make sure to ask the tenants if they’ve noticed anything, as there could be minor issues they haven’t felt the need to report, but may feel more comfortable relating their observations in person.
If you use a reputable letting agent, they will typically complete these checks for you. If you’re making these checks yourself, compile a report, and make sure your tenants are aware of your expectations as a landlord, and informs your tenant of your commitment to maintaining the property.
What should you look for in the inspections?
Damage caused by hot weather
Issues such as subsidence can be worsened in extreme heat, and can cause the foundations of your property to become unstable. Look out for new cracks in the walls, particularly around possible weak spots; doors and windows, conservatories or extensions
An overgrown garden can invite pests to your premises, as well as prove difficult to get back to a lettable condition after the existing tenants move out. Whilst it may be a case of waiting for cooler temperatures and some rain to bring it back to life, general garden maintenance such as cutting back all plants and foliage before winter sets in will ensure things are kept tidy during the colder months.
Windows and Doors
The summer provides a great opportunity to get stuck in on the tasks that could feel particularly arduous come winter. Perhaps you’ve found yourself with a few weeks in between tenancies, so why not make the most of the sunshine-filled evenings, and give windows and doors a new lease of life with a coat of paint?
Also, make sure to check that each one opens and closes as it should, as well as checking the window putty, oiling the hinges and replacing any worn-out draught excluders. This will ensure that your property stands in good stead to weather any winter storms.
Roofs and chimneys
Particularly essential before it gets cold and rainy, hiring a contractor to conduct a thorough inspection of your roof and chimneys will mean you’re ahead of any potential risks of cracking or leaking. Make sure that any loose or fallen tiles are replaced or fixed down, the gutters cleaned out and the chimneys swept.
Sorting out the seemingly minor issues sooner rather than later will mean your investment is less likely to develop more major structural issues later down the line. This could help you avoid possible void periods, as well as the extra costs associated with larger regeneration projects.
Landlords are legally responsible for repairs to heating, hot water, gas appliances, pipes, ventilation, wiring, and sanitary fittings. Boiler repairs and servicing therefore fall under your responsibilities.
“It is the landlord’s legal obligation to service any gas appliances with the frequency required by the manufacturer.” says 2Red a Boiler Service and Installation company in Nottingham. “It is extremely important to have your boiler service annually to avoid putting your tenants in danger. In addition, you must have an annual gas safety check conducted by a registered engineer.”