Property checks can be the bane of a letting agent’s life if left unchecked. Throw in the winter weather, and you’ve got a whole host of extra issues to prepare for.
Winter checks can dampen any letting agent’s spirit as the year begins and ends, but there are ways to stay on top of the mounting maintenance requirements without losing the plot. Today’s property inspection software can help you record these maintenance issues quickly and efficiently so they can be fixed as soon as possible.
There are over 20 common issues that occur over the winter months. When you multiply those with the number of properties in your portfolio, it can become a full-time job just keeping track of those checks and visits.
Proptech inventory apps take that time-consuming planning out of the equation, leaving landlords and letting agents to focus on the task at hand.
The top 10 winter issues in rented properties
Here are ten of the most common winter property issues to look out for:
1. Boilers breaking down – the cold temperatures and ongoing heating put extra pressure on boilers, making it one of the most common appliances to go wrong in the colder months. It makes sense to schedule a boiler service earlier in the year to avoid any engineer delays during the busy periods.
2. Inefficient radiators and water systems – tenants need access to hot water and heating. Any downtime should be kept to a minimum and rectified quickly. Keep communication open with tenants and schedule in annual checks to minimise the risk of disruption.
3. Blocked chimneys – if you have a log burner or fireplace in the property, it’s essential that chimneys are regularly swept for tenant safety and property protection. A chimney sweep should visit at least once a year to avoid fire hazards.
4. Dead alarms – with extra heating, stoves and open fires, it’s essential that carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are tested regularly to ensure they continue to work. Add this to your inspection checklist.
5. Damp and mildew – mould is a frequent problem in rented properties. Left unchecked, it can become a serious issue in the property and on the health of tenants. Residents should be educated on how to avoid condensation by opening windows, using extractors and wiping down surfaces after cooking, washing and cleaning. You will still need to schedule in intermittent property checks to ensure damp and mildew aren’t present in the property, and that fans are working effectively.
6. Draughty windows & doors – repairs must be carried out promptly to any broken windows or doors to prevent draughts in the property. Any gaps can cause water to leak into the property. The inefficient heating can also result in higher energy bills and potential boiler issues.
7. Blocked gutters & drains – from the autumn, leaves and moss build up in gutters causing blockages to the external pipes and drains. If these aren’t regularly cleared, rainwater, ice and snow can cause serious damage, cracking and overflows, which can also lead to damp.
8. Fallen trees – if your property is surrounded by trees, these will need pruning year-round to prevent issues occurring during the winter months. In high winds, rotten branches and weak timber can damage fences, roofs and cars – and cause a safety risk to tenants.
9. Damaged roofs – broken tiles and holes can cause draughts and lead to damp. They will also leave the property open to rodents and infestations if left unchecked, which may result in damage to contents, insulation and more. Intermittent inspections, maintenance and winter checks will help to prevent these problems.
10. Carpet damage – winter is host to the party season with Christmas and New Year bringing spillages, decoration damage and more. Carpets tend to face the brunt of red wine accidents, candle burns and Christmas tree marks. Make sure your inventory reports note any changes to the carpets and look out for damage at mid-tenancy checks.
The Inventory Hive application provides all the tools you need to create your property inspections reports along with tenant communications. This helps letting agents stay organised, compliant, and efficient with property inspections, winter checks and maintenance.
*Richard Abbots is an Author at Inventory Hive