Landlords – how to prepare your rental property for winter

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  • Landlords – how to prepare your rental property for winter

We’ve reached the period where the evenings draw in much earlier and the months grow colder, and if long-term forecasts are anything to go by, we could be in for another bitter winter.

Yet, the run-up to Christmas is guaranteed to get everyone in the festive mood, with an abundance of Christmas adverts and generous deals as everyone gears up for the holidays – which should be more normal this year compared to last.

For landlords, the winter months come with additional risks to property management that they will need to consider and factor into their plans in order to keep their rental property protected.

Here at Harringtons Lettings, we list the all-important steps that landlords can take to ensure their rental property survives the seasonal upheaval.

Insulate to keep the cold at bay

A well-insulated home is crucial for keeping potential hazards at bay and ensuring your tenants are warm and content.

Fortunately, there are a few cost-effective ways to draught-proof the small areas throughout your home and retain the heat.

Check for draughts around the edges of window frames, gaps under doors and around the letterbox. Draught-excluders are available to purchase online, which will block these openings. Meanwhile, sealing the windows and other small gaps is effective enough to keep the cold out this winter.

Insulating the walls, while a more costly method, is a key part of having a thermal-efficient home. Although the average budget for renovating a full home can cost up to £7,000, the savings that come from doing so are worthwhile.

A better insulated home is also a more energy-efficient one – and, with this now an increasingly important factor for tenants, it’s something that all landlords need to be prioritising as much as possible.

Clear the gutters and drainpipes

Keeping the gutters and drainpipes clear of leaves, litter and other debris will save you plenty of hassle in the long run.

Clogged or damaged gutters can lead to serious issues over time. If gutters or drains are left to clog up, there can be a build-up of excess water which can potentially damage exterior walls or leak into the property itself, causing costly damage.

With your tenants more likely to stay put this winter, it could be worthwhile asking them to carry out this simple task on an infrequent basis as a preventative measure.

Similarly, pipes that are blocked or leaking can potentially freeze, expand and burst during the winter months. To prevent this, wrap lagging around external pipes or pipes in cold areas such as the garage. This will stop pipes from freezing and will avoid blockages and burst pipes.

Whether located inside or outside, if you or your tenants spot a frozen pipe, consider using a hot water bottle or a hairdryer to apply warmth and melt the blockage.

Keep your property secure

The winter season is a prime time for burglars, and it’s important to make sure your property’s security is up to scratch – especially if it’s empty between tenancies or while your tenants are away over Christmas.

If they do happen to be away, ensure that your tenants leave the home looking occupied. Setting the heating to come on regularly each day will help to prevent pipes from freezing, while scheduling a lamp or two to come on with a timer will help to deter any potential thieves or squatters.

Also, consider investing in theft deterrents such as alarms (visible from the exterior of the property) and motion sensors.

In fact, an increasing number of households now use alarm systems that can be accessed and managed anywhere via a smartphone, so do your research and speak with both your agent and tenants to find the best security option to ensure the home is safe at all times.

Thoroughly check the boiler 

As well as checking the cladding around your boiler and pipes to ensure that taps and faucets aren’t leaking, you will also need to inspect the boiler’s pressure.

Generally, the pressure should be between one and two bars. The pressure gauge can be found on the front of the boiler (or underneath it where the pipes are) and will either be a dial or a digital display. If it’s too high or too low, contact a Gas Safe engineer to make sure the pressure is right.

With a recent push to phase out gas boilers by 2025 and use alternative heating systems such as low carbon heat pumps in new-build homes, it’s even more important that your boiler is up to standard and working efficiently.

Of course, while not every landlord is required to get rid of their existing gas boiler, it could be time to weigh your options and invest in greener alternatives.

Void periods

When your rental property is without tenants it may not seem much of an issue. But a lot can go wrong when a property is left unattended. For an insurers point of view, things like water leaks, fire and burglary are more than likely to happen when the property is unoccupied. That is why it is important you let your insurance company know immediately about any vacant periods. Especially if they last longer than you would initially expect.

You will find that your policy conditions allow for a certain number of days where your property can be empty. It is best to understand your obligations and ensure you are fully covered.

It is good practise to visit the property as regular as possible. To ensure it is in a good order in any event. This includes opening windows to air the property as well as checking the boiler as we mention above.

Beware of thief

Leaving your property empty can also increase the risk of thief – another reason to visit the property regularly.

Even if the tenants are in the property, there may still be periods where it is empty due to occupants going away. Especially students when they might go back for Christmas. You may find when it comes to the University of Brighton and Sussex that they are not always at the student accommodation.

You might want to consider asking your tenants whether they have any form of contents cover etc. We do offer this through our sister company iInsure 365.

You might want to even consider investing in thief deterrents. Such as alarms which can be visible from the property outside and motion sensors.

Make sure your roof is in good repair

Winter is a good time to check the roof of your rental property, looking out for any broken tiles, issues with pointing and rendering and cracks in the chimney if you have one. You may wish us to go and do a visual inspection for you. If you spot anything wrong you will need to get it fixed first. You might find that water comes in during heavy rains and there may be weak spots in the roof. A roofer may need to identify and help you wish any issues.

Check your insurance policy

A standard landlords insurance policy may not cover things like maintenance call outs, so it could be worth considering a view of your policy in this regard.

We have a sister company iInsure 365 who deal with landlords across the whole of the United Kingdom. They will be able to help you in this regard. They can cover occupied, unoccupied and commercial property and can be contacted on 01273 827090 or enquiries@iinsure365.co.uk . Don’t hesitate to contact them.

Did you know that a substantial amount of landlords currently underinsure their properties. Why not click here to read their article regarding underinsurance on a property.

Show your tenants where the stopcock is

Do your tenants know where the stopcock is? If the water in the pipes freezes, pressure can build up behind a blockage and often cause them to burst. Whilst this is rare, it is important that your tenants can locate the stopcock. Allowing them to switch off the water mains in an emergency.

Seal any draft prone areas

If your tenants are feeling a chill from a draft in your property. Try sealing them is a quick, simple way to stay warm and save money. Check for drafts around the edges of the window frames, gaps under the doors and around the letter box. Draft excluders are available online, which will block out drafts between doors. For windows and other small gaps, just seal the openings to keep the cold out this winter.

Communicate with your tenants 

It’s unlikely many tenants will be on the move this year. But the lack of lockdown this Christmas means it is entirely possible that your rental home may be left vacant.

Therefore, it’s vitally important that you establish what your tenants’ plans are for this period and create an action plan accordingly. This includes putting a plan in place for any emergencies over the holiday period and who should be contacted.

Likewise, you’ll want to test everything is working as it should. Making sure your tenants are well-prepared for the festive period.

Here at Harringtons Lettings, we can help you to manage your rental property this Christmas. Ensuring you get the most from your tenancy as a result. For more information on how we can assist you on your lettings journey in Sussex, including Brighton, Hove, Portslade, Shoreham, Worthing, Lewes, Peacehaven, Seaford, Newhaven and Eastbourne, please contact us today.

You can also get an idea of how much rent you could be charging each month by using our free instant online valuation tool here.

Students

Do you have a property that would suit students? We have students from the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex currently looking for student accommodation. We always have tenants looking for properties in Hove and specially at the moment the city centre. At Harringtons we deal with a huge amount of different areas within the Brighton and Hove. Including Lewes Road, central Brighton, Western Road and many other districts. Contact us on 01273 724000 and admin@harringtonslettings.co.uk

We deal with all types of property from student houses through to properties on the seafront and we would be very happy to carry out a property valuation for you. Why not contact us on 01273 724000 to discuss managing your property for you. Did you know landlords have had 127 different types of new law over the last 5 years for legal compliance. There is already a new law this year that is being implemented that landlords are now required even if they have gas central heating to put a CO2 detector in the property. With the new white paper on levelling up this will include a landlords national register, a property redress scheme and the high likelihood of the abolition of the Section 21 notices. We will keep you updated on this.

iInsure 365

Have you been introduced to our sister company iInsure 365 who deal with all types of insurance? You wont have to worry about filing out a long lengthy forms to find cheap landlord insurance. With iInsure 365 you can speak to one of the team and they will find you a quote through their panel of provider. They deal with all types of level of cover and have various different insurer who can offer quotes for you. There are legal requirements for landlords and it is important that you have the right insurance company to deal with your insurance cover.

A landlord may have one or more properties in the United Kingdom that they rent out. It is important for landlords to spend time looking for the right insurance. Make sure you find an insurance policy specifically designed for landlords. They can ensure properties from all over the United Kingdom for you.

Landlords often believe that a new home policy will suffice. This is not the case and they will then make a claim which virtually all insurers will turn down. Standard home insurance policy mostly cover homeowners or property owners, not landlords. If you stick with your normal house insurance policy you can find yourself with no cover at all.

Landlords building insurance

Landlord building insurance is specifically tailored for landlords and their requirements. iInsure 365 will insure what you need for your policy.

Are you aware of the growing risk of underinsurance?

In the words of the financial conduct authority “there is already an alarming degree of underinsurance”. With both the UK businesses and consumers creating issues throughout each of the property sectors.

It is the responsibility of landlords to ensure they take out sufficient levels for cover for the insured risk of having insurance.

If they fail to take out sufficient level of cover this can have devastating consequences for you. It can result in significant reductions to any insurance pay outs and potentially in the worst case scenario, it may void the policy. Resulting in no pay out at all.

A practical example is as follows;

If the rebuild cost of your premises is £200,000 but the property is only insured for £100,000. You are underinsured by 50%. Every insurance company will have an average clause in the policy. Which is standard and therefore it reduces the sum insured by leaving the policy holder with 50% of an insurance pay out of just £50,000.

We understand from iInsure that they recently had one of their clients check their rebuild costs. iInsure have an ability to be able to check a policy for the correct sum insured for only £160.00. Substantially more than what most surveyors charge.

The client was insured for £630,000. Once the report was carried out it stated that it should have been £856,000. There was an underinsurance of £226,000 which would have been taken off any claim.

They can provide you with a RICKS certified up to date revaluation. Ensuring that your property is correctly insured for the right amount. The cost is minimal compared to what the situation would be if you weren’t paid out to the correct amount.

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google-review Review
Cat Westmacott
Cat Westmacott
17:57 10 Jun 24
Generally helpful for Lettings. As with any company, sometimes need a push for a response, but often easier to speak on the phone than email. Feeling hopeful for the next year’s contract with Harringtons🤞.
Kirsty Turner
Kirsty Turner
20:50 04 Jun 24
Great experience. Everyone is so lovely and helpful over the phone at Harringtons! The best experience we have had with a letting agent in Brighton, none of the other agents in Brighton have been bothered to keep in touch and help us find a property as much as these guys. A special shoutout to the lovely lady who showed me around the flat (Georgie I believe -sorry if I got that wrong), great at answering all my questions and been very lucky in securing the first property we viewed with her (an amazing spacious flat that has everything we need - including nice storage space for our paddleboards!) Looking forward to moving into our seaside home. Thank you!
Shadan B
Shadan B
23:31 30 May 24
Great experience, very helpful staff and friendly. I wish you all the success. Thanks for your care. 💐😊
Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts
21:13 30 May 24
Best experience I've had with a letting agent!
Charley Besant
Charley Besant
10:25 30 May 24
So far the process with Harringtons has been amazing. We viewed 3 properties with Georgie and each time she was so informative and kind, she gave us the time we needed in each property to look around, take videos and ask questions about everything. The whole process has been easy so far and I can now happily say we found our property thanks to Georgie and the team at Harringtons.
Ainhoa Negro
Ainhoa Negro
09:15 30 May 24
Georgie at Harringtons Lettings in Brighton has been exceptional throughout my rental process. From the very beginning, her professionalism and friendliness stood out. She provided clear and prompt communication, ensuring all my questions were answered thoroughly. Georgie made the entire experience seamless, from viewing properties to finalizing the paperwork. Her attention to detail and genuine care for my needs made me feel confident and supported. I highly recommend Georgie and Harringtons Lettings to anyone looking for a top-notch rental experience in Brighton.
PRBL1
PRBL1
09:11 30 May 24
Joel Starcross
Joel Starcross
15:22 29 May 24
Beth has been an excellent agent, great communicator and enthusiastic member of the team. Highly recommended!
Jess Pond
Jess Pond
13:16 29 May 24
Had an absolutely awful experience with this company. Told me one thing on the phone and then told me another thing on email. Very mixed messages. Left 7 students homeless by putting the house back on the market with only 24 hour notice. Will never use them again. AVOID!
Roisin Lilley
Roisin Lilley
11:42 24 May 24
I recently had some problems with my previous agent and came to Beth for help! She took over the correspondence for me and sorted everything out for me! I can’t thank her enough for her patience and help!! I’d highly recommend her to other landlords that need help!
Chris Lilley
Chris Lilley
11:26 24 May 24
I’ve been a tenant with Harringtons Lettings for a while, they are great, they always sort out any issues I have quickly and efficiently, Beth in particular is really helpful and I’ll be going to her for my next rental property when I look to move in September!
Georgina Palzeaird
Georgina Palzeaird
11:21 24 May 24
Beth Roberts was a huge help when I needed to switch to a new letting agency. She was friendly and efficient and I’ve always felt I’m in safe hands.
Eliya Halim
Eliya Halim
10:26 24 May 24
Top service
Maryana Atiya
Maryana Atiya
10:20 24 May 24
Rees Harper
Rees Harper
17:53 21 May 24
Lauryn Keller
Lauryn Keller
15:20 03 May 24
Georgie was great on our viewing - super lovely, informative and honest. Thank you!
Sammi Richmond
Sammi Richmond
09:16 24 Apr 24
Well, they just contacted me via email asking for a review for money... so here, I guess.Does 3 stars get me that tenner? Probably not. Nothing terrible to say, but never had any issues with the property really. Don't enjoy that they were willing to pay for reviews though, seems sketchy.UPDATE: As the business has finally replied to my review 6 years later, I thought I would mention that I indeed have the email still as proof. Offer of £10 for a review, and to mention Rachel Erridge in the review. Also a prize of £200 to one lucky winner. The email was sent from the Harrington's admin email address. I can email the proof to whoever requests it.
Jayden Charles-Frempong
Jayden Charles-Frempong
01:20 18 Apr 24
Every interaction I've had so far with Harrington has been positive with workers responding to calls very quickly and addressing any queries efficiently.
severin severinov
severin severinov
10:05 11 Apr 24
It is very good that they do their job professionally and take care of the customers.
kate quick
kate quick
13:15 09 Apr 24
I am very happy and extremely grateful to have found Harringtons lettings and the beautiful flat that I am now living in. Not only is the flat perfect for me, ticks all the boxes and is in a great location; the whole communication/admin process was so fast and efficient. I spoke to many of the team, but the two main contacts initially were Georgie and Beth. Great personalities, friendly and fast at replying to emails and phone calls. It was all turned around very quickly and everyone at Harringtons seems to appear to really be happy in their jobs. Great letting agent and I would recommend them to others looking for a new home.
Michael Hollamby
Michael Hollamby
12:32 09 Apr 24
Having worked with many many lettings it has been refreshing to deal with such a dynamic and energetic team. From start to finish the team have outstanding. Special mention to Beth who has been fantastic. I can thoroughly recommend using Harringtons.
Celyn James
Celyn James
17:08 27 Mar 24
Great experience, Georgie was so knowledgeable and kind with any enquiries I had. Really put me at ease while house hunting, amazing service thank you so much!!
Madison Harris
Madison Harris
14:29 27 Mar 24
Georgie was so helpful and really kind very appreciative x
Amber-Rose Cook
Amber-Rose Cook
08:58 22 Mar 24
easy to use and navigate as a first time user
Buffy Vaughn
Buffy Vaughn
18:06 21 Mar 24
Harringtons have been so helpful so far. Everyone we’ve spoken to on the phone including Georgie have been so warm and receptive and easy to communicate with. As a couple renting together for first time me & Danny couldn’t have found better people to help us out, they’re clear and concise. We discovered them through Rightmove and would highly recommend anyone to use their services to rent with.Thanks guys!Buffy & Danny
Sajan Raja
Sajan Raja
01:48 21 Mar 24
Kerryn Johnson
Kerryn Johnson
16:58 18 Mar 24
Georgie was absolutely amazing! Very helpful, easy to talk to and all in all an absolute sweetheart. Made the process of renting and finding a property less stressful. Always happy to help and lovely to chat to!Thank you again for everything!
Julia Reinstein
Julia Reinstein
11:22 18 Mar 24
5/5 - Everyone I’ve spoken to on the phone has been so friendly and patient with our move in documents. We found Harringtons through Rightmove, and have been really happy with our interactions. The team respond to queries efficiently and are happy to answer any and all questions.
Andrew Brown
Andrew Brown
07:09 15 Mar 24
A really excellent agency, who are very easy and friendly to deal with. Highly recommended.
Rob Rainbird
Rob Rainbird
18:04 13 Mar 24
Lovely staff and all round positive experience - Georgie is an absolute diamond and a credit to the team!
Tori Tor
Tori Tor
11:15 08 Mar 24
Harringtons have been really helpful and very swift with their responses. Georgie was very proffesional and really friendly when she did the viewings with me and Beth on the phone was again really helpful and gave me hope when I was explaining my eagerness to find somewhere new to live. Thanks Harringtons!
christos papanicolaou
christos papanicolaou
09:33 07 Mar 24
Staff were brilliant. Very helpful
Yasmin Bright
Yasmin Bright
20:54 01 Mar 24
I'm in a difficult situation at the moment with my landlord wanting to sell the flat that myself and my 3 children have been living in for 7 years. I came across Harringtons Viewings by applying to view some properties outside of my area.Unfortunately I haven't been able to sort anything with Harringtons, however I wanted to write this to say that they have been nothing but kind, warm and very understanding of my situation. I've been really impressed by their customer service (namely Georgie & Beth) and hope that they are able to find me something eventually!Thanks so much.Yasmin
Tegan
Tegan
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
TheFlyingCrocodile
TheFlyingCrocodile
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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