Landlords advised to look after properties this winter

by Daniel Jones

Landlords need to more than just carry out a property inventory to protect items from damage this winter. According to the National Landlords Association (NLA), there are several key steps to take in order to prevent property damage during the cold weather.

It notes that last year saw a significant number of properties damaged by burst pipes, because tenants were not told how to shut off the heating system.

Landlords need to make sure tenants are shown how to shut off water to the property, especially if they won't be there over Christmas, as this will prevent any damage caused by frozen pipes. Alternatively, the NLA suggests that the heating system thermostat should be set to prevent it from freezing.

Tenants should be told how their central heating systems work and where the gas boiler is located, along with where the emergency gas shut off valve is.

The NLA says landlords should consider making energy improvements to their properties. Many initiatives will be accessible through the government's Green Deal, set to be available from autumn 2012.

Suggestions include installing cavity wall and floor insulation, as well as loft insulation of a minimum depth of 270mm. Additionally, landlords should fit lagging to pipes and draft proof the property thoroughly.

Not only will these help to avoid having to replace costly furniture and appliances, but they will mean tenants are more likely to sign a new tenancy agreement, the NLA suggests.

"Making a property more energy efficient provides benefits for all involved: tenants will be warmer and energy bills reduced," explains NLA chairman David Salusbury. "A higher energy efficiency rating, which is measured by an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), may also benefit the landlord by making a house more attractive to prospective tenants."

Landlords should also ensure they have the right buy-to-let insurance policy in place, as Defaqto recently noted that there is wide variation in the level of covered offered by different providers.

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Published on: November 16, 2011

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