Top tips for landlords: Seasonal repairs
13th August 2018
With record-breaking weather and a heatwave to rival 1976, seasonal maintenance is a must for landlords this year.
Specialist Landlord Insurance provider, Just Landlords, has put together some top tips for property owners to help them fix small issues now, and prevent them becoming bigger – and more expensive – problems in the future.
By ticking off these jobs, your property will be in the best position possible to deal with the difficulties that both autumn and winter can pose:
Conduct a periodic inspection
The very first thing you should do this summer, if you haven't already, is to undertake another periodic inspection of your property. These visits should be made every quarter for new tenancies, or bi-annually for those you feel confident in. Just Landlords' sister site, Landlord News, has a useful guide to help you effectively complete inspections.
After you have arranged a suitable time to meet your tenants at the property, make sure to check the conditions against the initial inventory report. This highlights any changes that either you or your tenants must make. Then, make sure you ask your tenants if they've noticed anything that needs dealing with; they may not want to email you about such issues, but feel they can raise them in person.
After making these checks, finish up with an inspection report that details what you and your tenant must complete before your next visit. This sets out your expectations as a landlord and informs the tenant of your commitment to maintaining the property.
Please note: If you use a reputable letting agent, they will typically complete these checks for you and provide you with a comprehensive report afterwards.
Look out for damage caused by hot weather
We usually think of winter being the devil that destroys our homes, but summer can be equally as devastating on a property, especially with the sky-high temperatures we've recently experienced. On your property visits, it's wise to take extra care in looking out for damage caused by these extreme conditions.
Cases of subsidence, for example, are known to increase during hot, dry weather. This can drastically affect the state of your property, as it causes the foundations of the home to become unstable. Look out for new cracks in the walls, particularly around weak spots (doors and windows) or an extension.
At the same time, make sure that your landlord insurance covers you for subsidence, as its effects can be long-term.
Set your expectations for the garden
The garden, too, may be another area that has suffered at the hands of the sun in recent weeks. While it may just be a case of waiting for the rain to bring it back to life, your tenants must understand their responsibilities relating to gardening.
In your inspection report, make sure to include a section on the garden, stating the condition it is in and how it must be maintained before winter. It is essential that the grass, plants and shrubs are cut back before the cold weather arrives, to keep it looking clear and tidy.
An overgrown garden can invite unwanted pests to your premises, as well as making it difficult to get the property back to a lettable condition when your tenants move out. Inform them that you will be checking the state of the outside space on your next inspection.
Look at windows and doors
The summer provides a fantastic opportunity to do some work on the outside of your property, especially if your tenants are going on holiday and the home is empty. Two of the most prominent areas to focus on are the windows and doors.
You must ensure that they all open and close properly, while inspecting the window putty on the outside of glass panes. It's also a good idea to apply lubricating oil to hinges and replace any draught excluders that are worn out.
You may need to get a contractor in to complete some repairs, such as removing rotten wood, but this will be worth it in the long-run, as your property will be in the best condition possible to weather the winter storm.
Check your roof and chimney
If you're not comfortable with heights, you may also need to hire a contractor to complete a thorough check of your roof and chimney. Again, summer is the perfect time to conduct this work.
A good tradesperson will clean any leaves or debris from the area and check for signs of cracking or leakage around roof flashings. You should also have any loose or fallen tiles replaced or fixed more firmly, to keep the roof strong over the winter.
Sorting out these minor issues will prevent larger problems forming during the cold weather, so it's worth arranging this work sooner, rather than later.
Take the opportunities that this summer is giving you to get outside and complete these seasonal maintenance tasks on your property – your tenants will definitely thank you, and so will your finances over the long-term.
Article by Warren Lewis