Landlords have been reminded to ensure their investment properties are prepared for winter in order to make sure that they are safe for tenants and avoid void periods.
It was revealed in research conducted by online letting agent Upad that 52 per cent of the 4,000 landlords surveyed plan ahead by carrying out necessary checks in the summer months to ensure all issues can be rectified in advance. This ensures there is minimal disruption for the tenants in the property during winter.
Of the landlords who commit to routine inspections, 73 per cent ensure that the boiler is working effectively, whilst a mere 55 per cent extended this to all heating systems. Just 55 per cent then survey the outside of the property, cleaning drainpipes and guttering, whilst 27 per cent carry out roof checks and maintenance.
Regarding the research findings, James Davis, CEO and founder of Upad said: ‘Whilst it’s encouraging to see a slight majority of private landlords investing the time and money to carry out certain routine maintenance checks, the fact remains that almost half are failing to do so. “Those who don’t act in plenty of time, run the risk of any issues escalating and, therefore, costing more to rectify. This is not only a drain on the landlord’s finances, but can also lead to unhappy tenants who may choose to look for alternative accommodation if the disruption becomes too much to live with.’
Landlord John Socha offered his opinion on winter maintenance checks: ‘Being on top of essential maintenance before bad weather sets in, isn’t just about maintaining positive relations with your tenants, as important as that is, it also makes sound financial sense. Far from taking a ‘sticking plaster’ approach when things go wrong, I’ve instead decided to invest up front to mitigate potentially more costly repairs at a later stage. For example, all of my properties with gas central heating are signed up to a yearly maintenance and servicing policy. This not only means that it is regularly checked with any niggles rectified, but also that, should something go wrong, the tenant can call the engineer out, safe in the knowledge that they’ll have the issue dealt with quickly. For me, I’m also reassured that there won’t be any of the extortionate costs that can be associated with emergency call outs.’
Davis concluded: ‘Whilst it’s easy when you don’t live in a property to be less aware of its overall condition, we advise landlords to commit to regular maintenance checks and, therefore, avoid small issues escalating to larger, costlier, ones.’