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Essential maintenance for landlords – spring edition

All of those jobs that need to be done, to prepare your investment property for the year ahead.

Now the frost is behind us for a while, and the days are longer, it’s important to inspect your rental properties and carry out a some essential maintenance. The harsh UK winter may have taken a toll on your property. Even if it hasn’t, there are things you can do this time of year to prevent problems later.

Remember, no matter how great your tenants are, a house needs to be maintained. If you are lucky enough to have fantastic tenants who don’t ask much from you, it benefits you and your investment, to keep them happy by staying on top of seasonal maintenance.

Here are four essential maintenance tasks that we recommend all landlords do early spring

1. Gardening, gutter cleaning and other outdoor tasks

Whether or not your rental property has outdoor space, take a look at the place from the outside and note any jobs that need to be done.

Debris can build up in gutters during the winter, so there’s a good chance they’ll need to be cleaned. While you’re at it, it’s worth checking that your drains are running smoothly too.

If you have trees, a prune this time or year will keep them looking their best. At the very least, check to make sure no foliage has grown to the point where it could damage windows or obstruct doors.

Have your fences withstood the high winds? Is there anything that looks like it won’t last the year? Take note. Make safe. Tidy up.

2. Maintaining the HVAC system

Your tenants probably have their heating off now, for most of the day. If you have air conditioning, that’s unlikely to be on in the UK, so this is a great time to check that everything’s working and take action if it isn’t.

Legally, you must have a gas safety inspection every year, and that has to be done by a qualified professional. This is an ideal time of year to schedule it. If that’s not due yet, and even if your tenant hasn’t reported issues with the heating, don’t skip this maintenance.

Check the boiler, change the filters, bleed any radiators that need it. Ask your tenants if they’ve noticed small issues or changes that they didn’t bother to report. Staying on top of things will prevent problems down the line.

3. Damp removal and prevention

Don’t ignore the dreaded signs of damp! Damp in all its forms can be incredibly hazardous to health and, after months or rain and closed windows, it can creep in.

Start your damp inspection outside. When you’re checking drains and gutters, look for cracks or signs or leakage. Then, inside the property, can you see or smell damp? Check corners. Check old pipes. Look out for any visible signs of damp and address them.

If there are signs that condensation has caused damp, it is your responsibility to fix that problem. This has been considered a grey area for a long time but guidance issued by the UK government in 2023 makes it clear that, as landlord, you must act to address all instances of mould.

The guidance states:

‘landlords must treat cases of damp and mould with the utmost seriousness and act promptly to protect their tenants’ health…..Damp and mould in the home are not the result of ‘lifestyle choices’, and it is the responsibility of landlords to identify and address the underlying causes of the problem, such as structural issues or inadequate ventilation.’

4. Checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Change the batteries in these alarms at the same time every year, whether it seems like they need it or not. By doing that you minimise the chances that the batteries will fail, and your tenants will remove them to stop the beeping.

Put it in your diary to make sure smoke, carbon monoxide and any other alarms or detection systems are in full working order. And make sure to replace those batteries every spring.

Pro tip: you don’t have to do all of this maintenance yourself

So much legislation surrounds landlords that we can’t afford to slip up in any of these maintenance and repair tasks. It can feel like a lot of pressure. It can take a lot of time. We probably don’t have to tell you that – you already know.

Handing these tasks to a property management agent can be a huge relief. It is also the smart choice, for most landlords. Hiring a property manager ensures that nothing gets missed, that you’re above reproach and that your tenants are well looked after.

The even better news – hiring the right property manager should help you make a better return on your investment, over time, by minimising void periods, maximising rental return and keeping your property in good repair.

Transfer your property management to Homesure in one easy step, with Homesure Switch, even if you have a tenant in-situ. All you need to do is send one email – to your agent or tenant, giving Homesure authority to act on your behalf. We take care of the rest. Contact out lettings team, to make the switch.

Nicholas Stott

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