Prepare your investment for colder weather and reduce future repairs
I know that we’re barely into September, but summer – what we’ve had of it – is drawing to a close. Cooler and damper weather is fast approaching. People up and down the country are already preparing for Bonfire Night, and it won’t be long before Christmas decorations start to appear on busy high streets.
For landlords, now is the time to address buy-to-let maintenance issues. Ensuring that your properties are prepared for the change in climate could prevent larger repair issues emerging later in the year and through the winter.
If you haven’t considered an autumn buy-to-let maintenance programme, here’s a list of what you should inspect for and how to tackle any issues uncovered.
Start outside, and at the top
1. Check the roof
With the British weather the way it is, any leak problems with the roof are likely to have reared their ugly head already, but it’s worth checking to make certain the roof is intact. Look for cracked tiles, which are susceptible to storing water – if it freezes, the crack will enlarge and a leak could be sprung.
Check the flashing around chimney breasts and vents. Any damage should be repaired by a roofing specialist.
2. Inspect the gutters
While you are checking the roof, pay attention to your gutters. Remove any debris and bird nests. Clean them, and consider covering with wire mesh to keep debris out in the future and make it easy for blown leaves to blow elsewhere.
3. Check that doors and windows are airtight
Did you know that as much as 20% of a home’s energy can be lost through gaps around doors and windows?
An easy and effective way to make a home ‘airtight’ is to stick draught excluder on the inside of the frames. If frames are cracked or there are gaps between the frame and the wall, then you should fill these. Your tenants will love that you’ve cut down on draughts and should see the difference in this year’s winter fuel bill.
4. Consider paths and driveways
Driveways and paths can get cracked in the summer. Don’t ignore them. When the cold weather comes, snow and ice will make the problem worse. Clean drives and paths, and fill any cracks and holes. This simple maintenance should prevent more expensive repairs in the future.
Before you inspect indoors, if you have any outside taps or water pipes, make sure that they are insulated against cold weather. Clear out drains, and make sure that all drainage channels in the garden are free from debris.
Move inside, and start with safety
5. Do the smoke detectors work?
Check all smoke detectors by pressing the test button. Every floor must have a detector, and it may be worth providing new batteries now.
6. Get the central heating system checked
The central heating system may not have been used through the summer. When it is first fired up, it’s not uncommon for the heating to be inconsistent or not working. Often this is because of airlocks in the system, though the problem could be more fundamental.
Have a gas engineer check the central heating and boiler, releasing airlocks where necessary and giving the system a clean bill of health. An annual check scheduled for this time of year will help your system last longer and run more efficiently.
7. Are the appliances in good working order?
As the colder weather approaches, it’s likely that all the kitchen appliances will get worked harder. Dirtier kids mean more clothes to wash. As the nights become darker earlier, the salads get replaced by hot comfort food. Freezers and fridges can over-frost. Have all the electrical appliances tested and serviced: you could avoid the unexpected (and unwanted) call on Christmas Day demanding a new oven immediately because the existing one just broke halfway through the turkey’s cooking time.
8. Don’t forget the loft
Go into the loft space, and check water tanks, pipes and insulation. Put lagging around bare pipes, and replace any insulation that is thin. Have a professional conduct an assessment for Legionnaires’ disease.
Autumn buy-to-let maintenance should reduce future expense
Putting in place a regular buy-to-let maintenance programme should help to lengthen the life of your property’s appliances, roofs, paths, windows, doors, etc. The earlier any issues are caught, the smaller they are. Small issues are easier and cheaper to deal with than major repairs.
Many maintenance problems in buy-to-let properties occur as weather changes, and especially between summer and winter. It makes economic sense to catch issues early, and you tenants will love that you care for your property and their welfare.
Contact one of the Ezytrac team today on +44 01522 503 717. Ask about our property inspection processes and maintenance capabilities. Discover how Ezytrac takes the strain out of managing a property portfolio, and why we’re one the country’s fastest-growing investment property management companies.
Yours in effortless property management,
Brett Alegre-Wood MARLA MNAEA