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Get Your Rental Property Ready for Winter

By Liam O'Boyle

The varying weather and temperature in New Zealand means many places can see four seasons in one day – winter being no exception!

As winter nears, days get colder and shorter, especially in the South Island. It’s important for property owners to ready their properties for winter.

It’s crucial for tenants to be warm and healthy during winter. Any complaints could mar a reputation and not being prepared could end up costing you more in the long run, repairing damage that occurs in a home that isn’t prepared for storms and snow.

How to ‘winterize’ your properties

Preventative maintenance is the best way to make sure a house is safe and easy to maintain.

We’ve compiled a list of simple changes to make to a property before winter, ensuring happy tenants and a cheaper bill at the end of the season.

The roof, gutters and trees

Now is a better time than any to make sure any leaks or holes in a roof are fixed, and that gutters are clear to prevent water spilling over and flooding around a house. If the property has a chimney, make sure it is clear and working properly.

Make sure any trees around the property are safe – trim or remove any branches or limbs (especially dead ones) that could fall and damage a house during a storm.

Water and pipes

In freezing temperatures, pipes, especially outdoor ones, can freeze and create blockages. Water expands when it freezes and this often results in broken and burst pipes.

Insulate pipes with foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation to stop them from freezing.

Leaks and drafts

Check throughout the property, especially doorways and windows, where cold air can enter. Fix any rot or cracks in walls and corners. A simple, cheap draught stopper can be placed at the foot of a door to stop cold air passing through, and there are a number of ways to seal windows or look into double glazing to keep heat in.

Check, fix or install home heating

Older properties may not be insulated or have adequate heating to keep tenants warm during winter. There are a variety of heating and insulation installation options available to fit any type of home, or if already installed, maybe look at upgrading heating systems.

The time before winter is a great time to have maintenance check-ups on existing heating systems. It’s important to replace any air filters to keep systems running properly.

What curtains do you have? Investing in heavier, thicker curtains is a great way to keep heat in a home.

Smoke detectors and emergency plans

Replace batteries in smoke detectors and make sure they work. If there are none in the property, they are a must. The NZ Fire Service has great tips on how and where to install smoke detectors.

Have an emergency plan set for your tenants – compile a list of services they can call in an emergency. Plan for anything that could happen and create an action plan for each scenario.

Taking advantage of these simple tips will make sure both you and your tenants are prepared and happy during winter.

Do you have any other tips on preparing a property for winter? Let us know in a comment below.

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