Saturday, 24 November 2012

Landlords and tenants need to get ready for winter

Received the UK Landlord magazine for November/December 2012 from the National Landlords Association (NLA) earlier this week.

Inside was their "Spotlight - Guide for Landlords" which has a most imformative seasonal guide in it. No with only a month to go to Christmas it was not a gift guide, but some tips on getting ready for winter.

Winter has come rather early this year and so have the old condensation situations. Unfortunately there are so many apartments being let now (which is not bad news of course) that are very well insulated, have double glazing and not a lot of ventilataion.

Tenants also tend to have a lot possessions in a small place and a lot do not realise that if you don't let in some fresh air from time to time those fantastic double glazed windows will be wet, then there will be a build up of black mould and they will be complaining of "damp problems".

Some of these situations are not of the tenants doing, a roof leaking can cause such problems too.

Tenants are however living in a sealed environment and it is very important for landlords to leave some guidance notes for tenants when they let a property.

I have come across let flats with lots of clothes being dried by radiators. This does not help the situation a lot. They should be dried on an airer in a well ventillated room with the door shut according to the Spotlight article.

Tumble dryers should be vented.

Extractor fans should be used when cooking. The article says that if an extractor fan cannot hold a postcard they are not working properly.

Although most new double glazing units have trickle vents at the top of the windows, a lot of tenants do not know about these or how to open them and keep them opened. Condensation is a major issue and even when people have double glazing they don't always know they have. I visited a flat a couple of years ago and the tenant had carefully covered all the windows with cling film, thinking it would make the place warmer. Naturally it did not help and was only causing a big condensation problem.

Apart from condensation, there are other areas for both landlords and tenants. 

When I was working full time in the lettings agency business we used alway write to tenants before Christmas advising them to leave the heating on low over Christmas if they were going to be away. We used to often have a warm period before Christmas and a sudden drop in temperature at the start of the New year. The site of being greeted with the ceiling on the floor is not good. The Sotlight article also suggests that doors between heated and unheated parts of the property should be kept open to allow warm air to circulate and even leaving the loft hatch open.

Tenants should also know where stopcocks are in case they have to turn off water in an emergency.

Spotlight suggests to Landlords that they should ensure that all pipes are properly lagged (both inside and out), overflow pipes are properly connected and gutters and downpipes are clean and free from cracks and splits. Although in many cases a tenant has a responsibility to keep them cleaned, they don't have one to repair them on a domestic residential let. 

It is also most important to make sure that there are no damaged tiles or slates. Get those repaired before the situation gets worse.

Finally a landlord should make sure when the property is unoccupied between lets, it is regularly checked and if the water supply has to be drained down, it is does properly. I have come across landlords who said in response to the question to it being drained dowm "I turned off the stopcock". The property is like a time bomb then as the water tanks will still be full, if it has a radiator system for central heating, the pipes and radiators will be full of water and then the big freeze comes. All is ok till the weather gets warmer and then....burst pipes and ceilings on the floor and water in your neighbour's property!

So are you properly insured? At the jml Property Insurance website there are a lot of insurance companies advertising.

For Landlords: Rentguard - Letsure - Endsleigh - HomeLet - Intasure - Quotezone find out more Here 

For Tenants: Rentguard - Letsure - Endsleigh - HomeLet - Intasure find out more Here

Insurance is one essential you cannot afford to be without today. 

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