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Getting your rental winter ready

Sunday, May 01, 2016

*Burrrgh* The chill is about to hit.  Now is the time to start winter-proofing your rental property.  Houses are vulnerable to weather and water damages especially during the winter months which is more of a reason for you to give your rental a pre-winter check up before all the contractors get booked up.  

There has been quite a lot of debate in the media about whose responsibility is it to keep rentals warm and dry this winter.  The answer has to be both the landlord (as the property owner) and the tenant (as the property occupier).  Some issues are structural and maintenance related and can make a great difference in the overall wellbeing of the property but there are behaviour changes which immensely improve the health of those living in rental properties.

Here are a few helpful winter survival tips for you and your tenants.  

For the landlord 

Keep up a regular inspection schedule throughout the winter months so you can deal with any structural issues when they crop up.  Check for the following when you are on site and do the necessary: 

  • Insulation: top up ceiling and underfloor insulation at least to the minimum standard required and note to install blanket insulation over the joists;
  • Curtains and window dressings: thermal line and tight-fit all curtains and window dressings over all glazing on external walls (windows AND doors);
  • Draught-proof all doors and windows; 
  • Drainage: check that all drains and gutters are clear and functional; 
  • Prevent dampness: install polythene sheetings on the ground under the property to prevent rising damp, ensure kitchen and bathroom extractor fans as well as dryer vents are venting outside the house, install shower dome or steam stopper; 
  • Heat source: consider installing cost appropriate heat sources and disconnect un-flued gas heaters
For the tenant

No one likes to be told how to live their lives but it is in both you and your tenant's interest to have a constructive conversation about what you can both do to maximise their health during the winter months.  Some discussion points could include: 

  • Curtains: Open the curtains during daylight hours and close them two hours before sunset to maximise day time heat absorption and night time heat retention; 
  • Windows: Make and install window blankets; 
  • Drought-proof all doors and windows with door sausages; 
  • Heating: Turn on heaters when appropriate and do not use un-flued gas heaters; 
  • Ventilation: Regularly air out the house for 10-30 minutes as required, close off all unused rooms and only air them out periodically as required; 
  • Dampness: Cook with lids on pots and pans, do not dry cloths indoors, instead use either a covered outside area or a fully vented dryer, use a dehumidifier as needed; 
  • Communication: Discuss your winter requirements with your landlord 
What else will you be checking this winter to keep your tenant warm and toasty?  

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