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A landlords jobs for winter

Here we go again. The leaves are turning a riot of oranges & reds before we descend headlong into the darkness of winter. I’m feeling smug though. I’ve managed to pull in the exterior decoration of one of my properties. This should keep the timber work water-tight for another 5 years or so. The sash window I painstakingly refurbished should survive a few more winters.

Property maintenance is endless

Property maintenance for landlords is a big task, and it’s something that many of ‘generation rent’ conveniently forget. If the roof needs re-doing, or a fence blows down, then they just have to pick up the phone to their landlord to get it done – half expecting it to be done the next day.

Side stepping maintenance work

Many landlords neatly side-step the inconvenience of external decoration obligations by buying an apartment in a block. No decorating bills, or problems with gutters, missing roof tiles or ripped leadwork, however, this does come at a cost.

Most apartments in a block will have a managing agent who will employ a management company (the two can sometimes be one of the same). They will then carry out the maintenance works, but will charge a service charge. My latest purchase, a penthouse apartment in the historic centre of Nottingham is currently racking up a cost of £10 per day. If I did want to rent the property out that would eat into my net rental yield. Convenience comes at a cost.

What are the main winter jobs for landlords?

Landlords who look after their own maintenance will have a list of jobs to consider prior to the onset of a harsh British winter.

The main jobs a landlord needs to consider before winter are:

1 . Inspect the roof. Have a good look at the roof to make sure that there are no missing or dislodged roof tiles. In addition to tiles it’s worth looking at the lead work on the roof. This is more difficult to evaluate from a distance as it is often small split in the lead around the roof valley or chimney stack will be sufficient to allow water ingress during heavy down pours. A better way would be to get a trusted roof contractor to get up there and give you an honest report.

2. Gutters and drains. Check your gutters over. They need to be clean, clear and flowing correctly. Check for any loose, leaky joints and that drains are clear and free-flowing.

3. External decoration. It’s important to make sure that your external timber work is properly painted to ensure that water does not start to rot your timber resulting in expensive repair bills. Obviously, those landlords with UPVC windows will avoid this little pleasure. I’m a traditionalist though particularly in older properties.

4. Gardens and yards. Where you have an external garden space a final tidy and prune after the growing season will ensure your property is left looking neat and tidy going into winter. This will help if you have to re-let during the winter period.

5. Heating. The obvious thing to check both for the benefit of your tenant is the functioning of your heating system. For instance with gas central heating ensure your boiler has been serviced and that you have your valid gas safe certificate to ensure that you are both legal, along with minimising the risk of a boiler break down. It’s also important to be aware of the gas safety in your rental property.

6. Insulation. High levels of insulation will obviously benefit your tenants over the cold winter months, and ‘happy tenants’ are more likely to stay. A longstanding tenant will mean shorter rental voids and maximum returns and yield – this is what we like!

Do other landlords have things that they make sure is done before winter descends?

Let us know what we should be doing by dropping a comment below.

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