As the temperatures drop and Autumn and Winter approach, it is important to be prepared for what the months ahead may bring. Often landlords tend to be reactive to issues caused by the change in weather, however, it makes sense and is much more cost -effective to be proactive and this carefully about what needs to be done in advance. Property managers have the organisational skills and network to make sure that landlords are not left facing hundreds of pounds worth of repairs that could have been avoided.

1. Get the boiler checked

Gas and oil boilers should be serviced once a year by a qualified heating engineer. As autumn approcahes now is the perfect time to have the boiler serviced. Please note a boiler service may be undertaken separately to a gas safety check.

2. Action any DIY jobs

Autumn is one of the best months to get those autumn DIY jobs done before the cold weather arrives. Check the guttering and downpipes, looking for draughts, and sealing any cracks in the walls. Getting DIY jobs done while the weather is warm and dry before the colder months are here. If there are cracks in walls, around doors and windows, where the wind or water could come in during the winter. This will help to save money and make it easier for the landlord and tenant.

3. Check gutters

As leaves start to fall with autumn approaching, it is an important time to clean out and inspect the gutters before it gets dark. A blocked gutter might seem like a trivial problem at first, but they can cause serious damage to the property if left unchecked.

Tenants are responsible for ensuring that the gutters are cleared and whilst they will not be dealing with this themselves, they must instruct someone to clear the gutters and downpipes. Property managers will always provide the details of contractors that can assist.

4. Remind Tenants to test Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors 

It is important to test every smoke and carbon monoxide detector once a month to ensure that the alarms are working properly. Tenants can do this very easily. The tenant is liable for making sure that any issue is reported to the landlord. or managing agent so it can be dealt with effectively and efficiently.

5. Check the Roof and Loft Space

Often any issue with the roof will occur when the weather is worst - storms, rain, the cold temperatures, ice and snow of winter do further damage. Firstly, carry out a visual inspection all around the outside of your property for signs of wear and tear or possible hazards. You might be able to clear it yourself using a ladder or may want to consider calling in some extra help.

6. Send the Tenants a Winter Warmer Newsletter

Now is the time to provide tenants with information about some very key elements that impact the property during the autumn and winter months. Educate and help tenants to understand that a very simplistic approach to dealing with the change in weather will help them in the long run.

Condensation - the bane of everyone’s life. Make sure that tenants are aware of the importance of ventilating the property by opening windows and making use of extractor fans. If the tenants need assistance in managing the building up of condensation, remind them they can call the property management team for support.

Heating Systems - Energy bills are one of the concerns for tenants who are mindful of the impact of the cost of living crisis. Having the heating on full blast is not helpful for anyone, and setting the timer at a sensible temperature can help the tenants with their bills. It isn’t only gas and electricity that raise concerns for the tenant. It is important to make sure that oil powered heating systems are properly serviced. OFTEC provides excellent guidance on how to properly manage and service oil tanks.

Ventilation - Extractor fans when properly used, can help ventilate smaller rooms such as bathrooms. Remind the tenants that dirt, dust and grime needs to be removed from the fan to make sure that the fan works efficiently.

Tending to the garden and outside space - the exterior of the property is just as important as the interior. Whether the property has a garden, courtyard or balcony, reminding the tenants that preparing for inclement weather in advance will make the autumn and winter much more manageable. Investing the time now allows the tenant to have some peace of mind and not have any concerns that maintenance issues may arise. Reporting any maintenance issue when it occurs makes life easier for everyone and prevents incurring any additional costs should the maintenance issue get worse.