With the clocks having gone back we definitely know that Summer is over, and Winter is on its way. There are a number of property jobs to bear in mind at this time of year, whether you are marketing a vacant property, managing a rental property, or visiting tenants on a property inspection, these 3 top tips should come in handy:
Pipes tend to freeze as the cold weather starts to hit us, so make sure that the temperature is set at around 20 °C and that pipes have foam lagging fitted.
Radiators may not have been on for months, so check that they are working correctly, they should heat up evenly in all rooms (you may need to check if they have individual thermostats, that they are all set to on) and across all parts of the radiator. If you find that they are uneven across the surface or some are getting warmer than others, you may have trapped air and need to bleed them.
Boilers should be serviced annually, often they require pressurising (which should be easy and explained in the manual) but a gas safe registered engineer needs to be called if work is required.
WALLS & WINDOWS
Air needs to circulate around a property and this becomes harder as the days get colder because people don’t want cold air in the house. So you can fit extractor fans, into rooms which are likely to have higher humidity, such as kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms and make sure that you keep the door closed and the extractor fan on for at least 15 minutes after you have been cooking or washing.
Room humidity should be around 50% and it if gets higher than 70% you will start to get condensation forming. If this is left it will turn to mould and could cause a lot of damage. There are specialist cleaning products for mould, but the best method is to avoid it, and that means letting air circulate properly. Double glazed windows should have vents fitted, if you do not want the window open, at least ensure the vents are open. Try not to dry clothes on radiators, if you need to dry clothes indoors, have them placed on a clothes-airer in a room with ventilation and the door closed, so that the vapour does not move to other rooms.
It is a legal responsibility for rental property to have an energy performance rating of E or higher, so wall insulation is important and can make a property more efficient. Ensure that wall cavities are filled and loft insulation is a minimum of 270mm thick for optimum results. Remember there is a £4000 fine for breach of EPC regulations!
GUTTERS, DRAINS & PATHWAYS
The main issue here is the leaves falling off the trees during Autumn, and the high winds which blow those leaves into the gutters, causing water damage down walls when it cannot drain away properly.
Loose tiles on the roof can also fall, and these could potentially land on someone and cause major harm.
Paths covered in leaves can be very slippery, so have a hard bristle broom to hand and clear those leaves away from the paths, but also from the drain covers. It is best to collect them and put them into a garden waste bin to be taken away.
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA MIRPM
Chief Executive Officer