With the colder weather now well and truly upon us, here are a few things you can check on to ensure your investment property is winter ready.
Gardens tend to be looking their dullest during winter, when the trees have lost their leaves and garden beds lay bare. But a few small fixes will get your garden looking presentable over the winter months and ensure it’s in good form come spring.
While most tenants are responsible for garden maintenance in rental properties, it may be worth hiring a gardener if your property has more of an elaborate garden that needs special care during the winter months. Or if your property is sitting empty, there are a few easy ways to make it more presentable for prospective tenants.
Start by pruning away any dead branches and if there are any dangerous overhangs trim them back too. Treat your lawn to a winter-specific lawn fertiliser to give it the nutrients it requires for cooler weather. If your yard is prone to falling autumn leaves, consider hiring a gardener to clean away any debris before it starts rotting.
Heating and fireplaces
With most house fires occurring during winter, it’s important to check that any heaters or fireplaces are in good working order.
If your tenants have reported any issues or suspected faults, you should get on to it straight away. Not only does this ensure safety, it’ll keep your tenants warm and happy.
Keep the cool air out
Check if there are any cracks or holes letting cool air in, or any windows and doors that don’t seal properly. This will be making the home unnecessarily cold and will jack up your tenant’s heating costs.
If your insulation is more than fifteen years old, it’s likely some gaps and holes have developed in it, allowing drafts to come through more easily. For this reason, if your insulation is getting a bit old it might be worth topping it up to ensure your home stays warmer easier this winter.
Mould and dampness
With everything shut up in winter, this lack of sunlight and airflow can easily lead to mould, especially in cold, dark areas such as bathrooms and cupboards. To avoid this problem, make sure there’s good air flow so any dampness doesn’t just sit there.
While this is a bit hard to do if you aren’t living there yourself, you can assist as the landlord by ensuring that windows are able to open and close properly and that any exhaust fans are in good working condition. If a mould issue does spring up, deal with it properly and get the professionals in to eliminate all the spores.
With the extra rain at this time of year, leaks may become more apparent. You should identify the root of the problem and get on to fixing it straight away to ensure leaks don’t develop and become even more serious. Otherwise you run the risk of water damage if it gets through to the carpet or furniture, for example.
While fire alarm maintenance should be a year-round practice, it’s critical they’re in good working order in winter when tenants are regularly using heating and fireplaces.
Clear out the gutters
This is one of the most common winter home maintenance issues. Gutters can easily get clogged up in the winter months with any extra rain and falling leaves.
Blocked gutters can cause leaking and water damage so ensure they’re free of leaves, twigs and other debris.