Landlords urged to get winter proof

Landlords urged to get winter proof

Online letting agent, Upad.co.uk, has called on Landlords to take urgent action to ensure their investment properties are ready for winter so that they avoid facing disgruntled tenants and potential void periods.

The warning comes after it was revealed that nearly half of private landlords fail to carry out routine maintenance on their portfolio before bad weather sets in.

The research, carried out amongst over 4,000 private landlords, shows how just 52% planned ahead by carrying out necessary checks during the summer months – a time when any issues can be rectified before they become more critical and when disruption to tenants can be kept to a minimum.

Speaking of the research findings, James Davis, CEO and founder of Upad and himself a portfolio landlord, 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.”

Amongst those landlords who do commit to routine inspections, 73% ensure checks and necessary maintenance are carried out on the heating boiler, yet only 55% extend this to all aspects of the heating systems including pipework and radiators.  A similarly low number extend their checks to outside the property with just 55% clearing drainpipes and guttering and 27% carrying out roof checks and maintenance.


Liz Williams, a Marketing Consultant from Ledbury, has first-hand experience of dealing with a mid-winter maintenance issue whilst renting a property:  

“My husband and I moved to Herefordshire from London just before our first child was born and decided to rent whilst looking for our dream family home.  
 
Christmas fell just two weeks after Samuel was born and whilst we spent Christmas with family, we returned home on Boxing Day with thick snow on the ground to find that our boiler had stopped working.  Calls to the lettings agent proved futile given the time of year, but we fortunately had the contact details of the landlord who agreed to pay for a night in a nearby hotel for us.

On returning home to be present for a constant stream of heating engineers, we found ourselves camping out in our lounge to keep ourselves and our new-born baby warm near the fire and an array of portable radiators.

The boiler was eventually mended but we always felt the landlord himself should have had a better grasp on its overall working order and that he certainly should have been better prepared with the necessary contacts to call upon in an emergency situation such as this.”

John Socha has been a landlord for over 20 years and now operates a portfolio of 25 properties in Northampton.  For him, pre-winter maintenance checks aren’t just about avoiding inconvenience when things go wrong:

“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

Of course, issues aren’t always linked to the heating and so, once autumn leaf-fall is over, I ensure that all the gutters on my properties are cleared.  I’ve also recently changed all exterior lights to LEDs so that there’s less frequent need for bulb changes and have checked that outside taps are suitably insulated.”

James Davis concludes: “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.  

John is a great example of this. He appreciates that there’s no point in scrimping on essential maintenance and that small improvements and regular checks, can pay dividends via improved tenant relationships and less inconvenience all-round.”

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Latest Comments

Scott Garnet
Scott Garnet 06 Nov 2017

If you have a patio or a porch it is important to make sure that any connecting doors are secured. Good advice for sliding glass doors is replacing the panels with storm resistant glass and getting heavier...

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richardrawlings
richardrawlings 01 Nov 2017

What has not been mentioned here is the effect of not only higher interest payments, but also that these payments are less likely to be offsettable as a business cost due to the scaling back of mortgage...

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Kelvin Lloyd
Kelvin Lloyd 09 Oct 2017

IT is up, to the Planners. If they will only give permission for bungalows on certain (suitable) sites, they will be built.

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maggie swift
maggie swift 09 Oct 2017

It's just the beginning of the shocking rise.

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maggie swift
maggie swift 09 Oct 2017

I have recently read that the bungalows can provide social housing for elderly residents in London.

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zoe glover
zoe glover 05 Oct 2017

Update! Worst company I have ever dealt with. Undervalued a Cambridge property by over 100k, wont take on any evidence of valuation including a RICS valuation done 3 years ago for the very same value...

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Paul Edwards
Paul Edwards 27 Sep 2017

Its nonsense articles such as this that make it harder to get clients to realise just how difficult the market is out there. When you see Rightmove and there are more 'price reduced' then 'new' most days...

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Tom Allen
Tom Allen 20 Sep 2017

Absolutely agree with you!

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RyanGeo
RyanGeo 18 Sep 2017

A sharp correction would be a less dramatic expression to use. That is already underway in certain sectors in Reading where I practice as Chartered Surveyor

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sean benton
sean benton 01 Sep 2017

Identity theft is a thread for any profession. So,people should stay alarmed. I once take help from a letting agent and came to know that letting agents are taking every precaution to prevent fraudulent...

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Mark N.
Mark N. 30 Aug 2017

We have seen a surge in instructions over August and that should continue into September too.

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Chris
Chris 30 Aug 2017

Unfortunately, all the legislation bears its force on Landlords and ignores, naively, the effect of Rogue Tenants on the ability of landlords to keep houses in repair and offer properties for rent at reasonable...

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