winter healthcheck will be a necessity for all landlords

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Landlords must make sure their properties are in good shape before the winter sets in, says land agency firm Strutt & Parker.

A series of winter health check points could save landlords a big bill.

Charlotte Kerhsaw, Partner in Charge of Strutt & Parker’s Lewes office, said: “People should begin winter-proofing their properties now to avoid damage or bigger and more expensive problems later, particularly given the forecasts are for severe weather this 
winter.

“Burst and frozen pipes, damage to oil tanks, structural damage from severe temperatures or winter storms and malfunctioning heating and hot water systems are just a few problems commonly reported to us which could often be avoided if sensible steps are taken at this time of year.

“Prevention is better than cure with property repairs and although some conscientious tenants get in touch as soon as a problem is noticed, allowing us to ‘nip the problem in the bud’, many tenants only contact us when there is an emergency, often leading to more costly and disruptive repairs.”

Mrs Kershaw recommended following a checklist: arrange for the boiler or electric heaters to be serviced/tested; insulate unprotected pipes; clear leaves and debris from gutters and downpipes; check central heating system including bleeding radiators, if necessary; sweep chimneys; repair any loose or missing pointing and rendering on walls as this could allow water into joints which may cause more damage should it freeze; check for loose or slipped roof tiles; oil window and door locks to prevent them from seizing; and check home insurance policies are up to date.

She added: “Depending on the quality of your tenancy agreement, many of these checks should become a tenant’s responsibility. However, you may wish to inquire whether your tenant is complying with their obligations. If your property is empty, we suggest you inspect it regularly during the winter months. You should also ensure that the cold water mains are turned off to minimise possible damage from burst pipes and leave the heating on low.”

Mrs Kershaw said: “We manage thousands of residential properties across the UK and as a result have developed first class property management processes, as well as experience in how to prevent common problems or deal with them if the worst happens.”

For more information on property management in this region please contact Charlotte Kershaw on 01273 407019.