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Winter-proof your buy-to-let property in Hertfordshire

After the gales and floods of Christmas 2013 and the harsh months of early 2015 ahead, now is the time for landlords to shore up their investment properties. Winkworth Hertfordshire letting agentswe have seen first-hand the devastation that inclement weather can cause, and the worst effects are felt by the least prepared. For Hertfordshire landlords, winter proofing properties is important threefold. The most crucial aspect is providing tenants a safe and secure place to live, which falls under their duty of care. Failure to do so could lead to complaints and even prosecution. A landlord's duty of care does cover gas safety, add Hertfordshire letting agents, so a prudent landlord will carry out a boiler and gas appliance service ahead of the bitterest months. Secondly, the old adage of 'prevention is better than cure' really does apply to property maintenance so undertaking those job now - like replacing broken fence panels and fixing loose roof tiles - may save disruption later. Maintenance that is left unattended can quickly spiral into a major and costly issue, especially if there are high winds or freezing temperatures. If the landlord doesn't have a 24-hour emergency maintenance plan in place, he may be disturbed during unsociable hours by a tenant and left to find a tradesperson at short notice. Lastly, tenants will still be looking for property to rent in Hertfordshire during the winter months and landlords will want their vacant property presented at its best and not off limits to viewers due to 'unforeseen maintenance'. Regular scheduled upkeep during the winter months will ensure houses and flats to rent in Hertfordshire look their best no matter the time of year or type of weather. ARLA - the Association of Residential Letting Agents - recommends the following winter maintenance: Check all water pipes for cracks, leaks and blockages. Blocked or leaking pipes can freeze, expand and burst. If this happens while a tenant is out or away, the damage can be catastrophic. Make sure gutters and drains are not blocked or broken. Clean them out; especially if there are trees overhanging your property. Guttering can become heavy with frozen water, which can lead to it breaking and falling off. Install and maintain insulation: ensure lofts are well insulated and draft excluders have been fitted in order to maintain a decent temperature inside the property Keep tenants informed: Don’t assume that all tenants know how to deal with the cold weather. Simple things such as informing them that they must keep the heating on a low temperature to avoid frozen pipes can save a lot of trouble – but check insurance policies as to whether leaving the heating on leaves you covered. Furthermore, making sure that tenants have all the information they need, including things like the location of stopcocks and a basic understanding of how the boiler works, is really important

After the gales and floods of Christmas 2013 and the harsh months of early 2015 ahead, now is the time for landlords to shore up their investment properties. Winkworth Hertfordshire letting agentswe have seen first-hand the devastation that inclement weather can cause, and the worst effects are felt by the least prepared.

For Hertfordshire landlords, winter proofing properties is important threefold. The most crucial aspect is providing tenants a safe and secure place to live, which falls under their duty of care. Failure to do so could lead to complaints and even prosecution. A landlord's duty of care does cover gas safety, add Hertfordshire letting agents, so a prudent landlord will carry out a boiler and gas appliance service ahead of the bitterest months.

Secondly, the old adage of 'prevention is better than cure' really does apply to property maintenance so undertaking those job now - like replacing broken fence panels and fixing loose roof tiles - may save disruption later. Maintenance that is left unattended can quickly spiral into a major and costly issue, especially if there are high winds or freezing temperatures. If the landlord doesn't have a 24-hour emergency maintenance plan in place, he may be disturbed during unsociable hours by a tenant and left to find a tradesperson at short notice.

Lastly, tenants will still be looking for property to rent in Hertfordshire during the winter months and landlords will want their vacant property presented at its best and not off limits to viewers due to 'unforeseen maintenance'. Regular scheduled upkeep during the winter months will ensure houses and flats to rent in Hertfordshire look their best no matter the time of year or type of weather.

ARLA - the Association of Residential Letting Agents - recommends the following winter maintenance:
  • Check all water pipes for cracks, leaks and blockages. Blocked or leaking pipes can freeze, expand and burst. If this happens while a tenant is out or away, the damage can be catastrophic.
  • Make sure gutters and drains are not blocked or broken. Clean them out; especially if there are trees overhanging your property. Guttering can become heavy with frozen water, which can lead to it breaking and falling off.
  • Install and maintain insulation: ensure lofts are well insulated and draft excluders have been fitted in order to maintain a decent temperature inside the property
  • Keep tenants informed: Don’t assume that all tenants know how to deal with the cold weather. Simple things such as informing them that they must keep the heating on a low temperature to avoid frozen pipes can save a lot of trouble – but check insurance policies as to whether leaving the heating on leaves you covered. Furthermore, making sure that tenants have all the information they need, including things like the location of stopcocks and a basic understanding of how the boiler works, is really important

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