As the requirement grows for the more effective management of rental of properties we strongly advise our client to prepare a “what if” action plan to ensure that their tenancy is smooth and happy during the winter. As with most major maintenance issues it is simple to put together a plan to minimise the chance of a problem and to respond professionally and quickly if something goes wrong.
Here are the three most common winter issues – along with solutions that we come across as lettings and management specialists.
The most common issue that we experience is that of boiler failure. To avoid this we advise client to follow the simple steps below:
- Have your boiler serviced at the end of October annually. This will flag up any issues nice and early.
- Get a service plan in place – many of our clients use British Gas Home Serve – this will reduce a huge amount of worry and your tenant will know who to call if anything goes wrong – reducing a lot of stress. You will not then be scrabbling around for a plumber last minute and dealing with an irate tenant.
- Boiler insurance is also a good idea with many of our clients opting for Direct Lines services. www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk/landlord-insurance/boiler-cover
- Confirm the emergency procedure well in advance and in writing to your tenant to avoid any last minute pressure.
Blocked pipes, gutters and drains
This is less common as an issue but it still can occur and the damage caused by a blocked drain or gutter can be significant. Again in October we recommend writing to your tenant to request extra vigilance with drains and gutters in particular. This is usually reinforced in any good tenancy agreement but tenants often don’t realise that it is their responsibility. It is also a good idea to book and inspection to check that all the pipes, gutters and drains are in good working order if you feel that your tenant may not be on top of things.
Christmas Day drama
We always get at least a few emergency calls over the Christmas period, usually when things have completely shut down over Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I would advise landlords to check in with their tenant to ensure that everything is OK in the days running up to the Christmas shut down. Check that everything is in working order, that your tenant has a spare set of keys (getting locked out is always a possibility) and then confirm the procedure in writing to your tenant of how you would like them to deal with any emergencies.