As a landlord it is crucial to make sure that you are taking a note of changing legislation, carrying out a duty of care for tenants and up keeping properties to the required standard. But carrying out due diligence can become harder in the winter as the colder weather can bring a raft of problems for property owners across the UK.
The cold weather in the winter months means that it is vital for landlords to prepare ahead of time by carrying out routine checks in the warmer months where any problems can be fixed ahead of the icy winter days. However new research from Upad shows that, worryingly, just 52% of landlords carried out checks during the summer.
Problems like faulty heating, a broken boiler, or a leaky roof and damp can all cause havoc in the winter, with conditions making it more difficult for repairs to be carried out. Landlords must also be aware of high-risk tenants, for example the elderly and young families, who can suffer the brunt of a poorly kept property.
CEO and founder of Upad James Davis commented on the figures: “Whilst it’s encouraging to see a slight majority of private landlords investing the time and money to carry out certain routine maintenance checks, the fact remains that almost half are failing to do so.
“Those who don’t act in plenty of time, run the risk of any issues escalating and, therefore, costing more to rectify. This is not only a drain on the landlord’s finances, but can also lead to unhappy tenants who may choose to look for alternative accommodation if the disruption becomes too much to live with.”
The study of 4,000 private landlords highlighted that (of those who did carry out routine checks) 73% inspected the boiler, but only 55% carried this through to inspecting all parts of the heating system e.g. pipes and radiators.
Troublingly, only 23% of landlords surveyed carried out roof checks.
Pre-winter property checks are not just important in terms of a duty of care to tenants though, they also make financial sense. By carrying out inspections of a property annually before winter you can be on-top of any issues, thereby avoiding costly repairs for more serious issues down the line.
The good news is that if you make a note to carry out routine checks you are more likely to maintain a positive relationship with tenants as well as save money.