As we've seen in the news over the past few weeks, harsher weather conditions are more commonplace at this time of year. Also, during the festive period, certain tenants (particularly student tenants) may return 'home' for a few weeks to spend time with family and loved ones.
So, while most people will be opening presents, tucking into turkey/mince pies and watching a hundred and one Christmas films over the next few weeks, landlords might have a busier time than most, especially if their property is left empty.
Empty properties during winter can be especially problematic, because hazards like damp, frozen pipes and clogged gutters are all much more of a concern. There are, however, a number of things you can do to ensure your property stays in tip-top condition even while it is uninhabited.
Make sure that you and your tenants are on the same page when it comes to working out how long they will be away for. After all, there is no point you dropping by to check if everything is OK if your tenants are still around. Once you know exactly when your property will be empty, you can then organise your check-ups around this.
Damp and mould can become major issues when the temperature drops a few degrees. To reduce the chances of your rental property being affected, make sure to open windows regularly, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. If your tenants remain in situ over the Christmas and New Year period, ask them to keep the property well-ventilated to prevent any issues.
Another potential problem is gutters becoming clogged with leaves. Not only does this look unsightly, it can also lead to more serious issues. Dealing with this early will help to prevent any of these issues from occurring at a later date.
Pipes freezing over is any landlord's worst nightmare. Sadly, it becomes a much bigger risk over winter. To avoid a very large repair bill and a load of unnecessary stress and hassle, ensure that the heating is turned on at least once every day. This will massively reduce the chances of a pipe-related disaster.
With all these things, prevention is often better than cure. Stamping out the issue early, before it has had time to spiral out of control, will save you time, money and hassle in the long-run.
As a landlord, the festive period isn't just about maintenance and keeping your property in tip-top condition. It's also a time to solidify your relationship with your tenants. This could be in the form of a Christmas card or a small gift, but tenants are likely to appreciate the sentiment and may even respond in kind.
Maintaining an excellent relationship with your tenants is, of course, vital. After all, if both sides are kept happy then the chances of a long-term, mutually advantageous tenancy will be much more achievable.
At Location Location we manage properties across London, with a particular focus on Stoke Newington and Hackney. For more information please contact us on 020 7923 9222. To find out your property’s current rental value, check out our free instant online valuation tool.