LANDLORDS – Springtime tips for weatherproofing your properties
21 Mar 2018
Taking simple measures to protect your property from the elements now could prevent much bigger complications down the line.
Heavy rain, strong winds and cold snaps can wreak havoc on a home, while springtime is notoriously wet in the UK, so it’s important to make sure your property is weatherproof. Fortunately, this needn’t involve a drastic overhaul. With regular maintenance and the right precautions, you can easily create a safe haven for your tenants.
Carry out regular roof check-ups
Upkeep of your roof is vital. Gutters and downpipes need to be kept clear to ensure water can flow through during heavy rainfall.
Ensure tiles don’t become loose or dislodged during extreme weather. Inspect them at least twice a year to make sure all tiles, lead flashing and pointing are secure and in good condition. This includes making sure they’re clear of moss, which can absorb moisture, and then freeze and damage the tiles.
Chimneys, aerials, TV entertainment dishes and gutters need to be checked too – if these are loose, they can cause damage in high winds.
Make your property flood-resistant
As storms Desmond and Eva showed us, floods can devastate a home, so make sure you’re aware of your property’s flood-risk level and take the necessary precautions. If it’s high-risk, you can register for a flood-risk warning, and make sure your tenants have a contingency plan, raising their possessions from ground-floor level, for instance.
You also need to make sure the external fabric of your property is in good condition. If not, it may be beneficial to call in specialist contractors or surveyors, who can advise on the most suitable resistance and resilience measures, ranging from external coatings and non-return valves in pipes to automatic flood doors and water-resistant kitchen units.
It’s important to note that flooding isn’t limited to riverside homes – groundwater can rise fast in other areas too.
Of course, properties should have been built with flood prevention in mind, but make sure you take it into consideration when laying additional exterior surfacing, which can exacerbate flooding problems if non-porous materials are used.
Prevent pipe problems
As we found out in the recent cold snap in February, cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and burst. So, if you’ve recently acquired a property, make sure you know where any problem pipes are.
‘Lagging’ or insulating your pipes to ensure they don’t get too cold is one way of preventing bursts.
Condensing boilers also have a condensate pipe to drain away water, which can freeze if it is undersized, resulting in the boiler shutting down just when you need it most.
In particularly cold areas of the home, such as the attic, you could also have a heat-trace element added to affected pipes. This produces a mild electric current that runs through a cable along the pipe, keeping the chill off.
Keep condensation at bay
An unwelcome side effect of cold weather and central heating is condensation appearing on windows and walls. If left untreated, this can lead to mould, which will not only ruin the appearance of your property, but can be dangerous to health too.
Prepare for next winter now and make sure your tenant is aware of ways to avoid creating excess condensation, such as not drying wet clothes on radiators and trying to maintain a reasonably constant indoor temperature.
Check the tumble dryer is well ventilated, plus any extractor fans. Visit envirovent.com, an NLA-recognised supplier, for a range of offerings.
Don’t forget to check your insurance
Check your property insurance to see how long your property is allowed to be left empty without invalidating the policy. If your tenants are away for a long period of time, you may need to arrange checks on the property yourself.