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How to Prepare Your Rental Property for Winter

By Donna Jones

It’s that time again —the leaves are dropping and so is the mercury. This means winter is nearing and now is the time to start ‘winterizing’ your rental property to help it through the harsh period.

Read on for a handy checklist of six things that will help ensure your property and tenants make it through the chilly months unscathed.

1. Prevention is better than cure

As with most things, prevention is better than cure when it comes to protecting your house from the elements. Across all your work on your rental property, spare a thought for ‘future you’ and put the extra effort in now so you can reap the reward of reduced and easy-care maintenance over time — future you will be forever grateful.

2. Check the status of your insulation

Depending on the age of your rental property, the insulation and heating system may not be up to the legally required code. There has been a lot of press given to the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2016, including right here in our own news feed.

If you’ve been ignoring this, it’s definitely time to get it sorted and ensure you are meeting your legal responsibilities as a landlord or investment property owner. If you’re still unsure about where you stand, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

3. Give your heating system some love

Your tenants will likely already be using the heating source in their home, be it a fireplace; heat pump; or panel or oil heaters. It’s never to late to apply some preventative maintenance to these devices, though — it may be required to stay compliant with your landlords’ insurance policy and ultimately, help prevent a house fire.

Fireplaces need to have their chimney swept and checked for bird nests at least once a season. Commercial chimney sweeps will tell you this is a summer job for ease and safety of roof access, but if you find a good one, they’ll oblige you regardless of the time of year.

Heat pumps should be serviced by a trained air conditioning technician who knows them inside and out. Their work will optimise the unit’s operation and help it have a long and healthy lifespan. This should also be done annually.

If you’re a particularly punctilious landlord, you might like to pay for testing and tagging of your tenants’ plug-in heaters. This will leave you confident that these electrical devices are of sound condition and you’ve done all you can to reduce their inherent fire risk.

4. Inspect your roof, rain gutters and overhanging trees

Now, before the persistent rain sets in, is a good time to inspect your roof (we encourage enlisting the help of a professional) to check for any leaks or areas needing repair.

While you’re on the roof, clear your gutters of leaves and debris. Clogged gutters can become so heavy they sag and eventually become detached from your house, requiring replacement and potentially causing additional damage. Clogged rain gutters can also result in the water being channelled somewhere you don’t want it, like your home’s cladding or insulation membrane.

Consider pruning any tree branches that hang over your roof. This will stop falling leaves settling in your gutters and lessen the chance of branches falling in high winds and damaging your home.

5. Seal up drafts and leaks

The easiest home to heat is the one that’s the best sealed, so go through the property checking for drafts or air leaks under doors and around window frames. If necessary, fix any cracks or rot in walls or corners.

Drafts coming through external doors and windows can be halted with the help of weather seal tape. A more permanent solution to leaky windows and poor thermal qualities is considering installation of modern double-glazed windows — a sure-fire way to increase the value of your rental property and help you retain good tenants for longer.

6. Are your pipes freeze-proof?

Depending on how cold it gets in your area, your water pipes may be partial to freezing in sub-zero temperatures. This can create blockages and even see pipes break or burst as the water freezes and expands with nowhere to go.

To prevent this costly and inconvenient occurrence, protect your pipes (especially the outdoor ones) with insulating lagging.

Keeping a home healthy through winter

Of the four seasons, winter is the hardest on houses due to the extreme elements it exposes them too. If you think about it, it’s similar to how we humans get sick more often in the colder months.

While you can’t dress your house in warmer clothes or send it for a flu shot, you can use the above list to give it a fighting chance at fending off the inclement weather. If you’d like to learn more about helping your rental property and current tenants stay happy through winter, drop us a line.


#house #victorian #rain #94117 #sanfrancisco #lynnfriedman’ by Lynn Friedman via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

This is what happens to a gutter that is never cleaned’ by Michael Coghlan via CC BY-SA 2.0.

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