The winter of content


Sadly, for those of us here in Blighty, the summer is well and truly over – and, with the approach of the colder months, it's time for landlords to look at getting their rental properties all ready for winter – so upad, the marketplace for property rental, provides some tips to on how to spot signs of wear and tear…

Stop the damp

For much of Britain, the damp is as much an enemy as the cold, and so weather-proofing should be high on everyone's agenda. Damp can damage brickwork and stone, so check that gutters and downpipes are clear and not clogged with leaves and other debris.

Downpipes should discharge well away from the property.

Water butts are a great way to conserve water for the garden in the summer months, but make sure that in winter, they have a safe overflow mechanism or they may cause problems for adjacent buildings.

Make sure that windowsills are deep enough to carry water away from the external surface of the property.

Check that mortar and render doesn't have tiny cracks that water can freeze in and expand, causing damage as it does so. Small cracks are a simple DIY job to fix; left untended, they can become much more serious and costly to remedy.

James Davis, CEO of say, "Investing some time inspecting your properties now could save you hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds in repair bills at a later stage.

"It's also important to recognise that in this competitive environment, attracting and retaining good tenants is vital.

"Keeping your properties in first class condition should therefore be ‘top of mind'."

Check the roof

Check that roofs are clear of moss, leaves and other debris, and that any missing tiles are replaced.

Prevent drafts

As well as wasting energy on heating, drafts leave your tenants uncomfortable during the winter months.

Check for badly-fitting windows, gaps around doors and floorboards, and even drafts through letterboxes.

Consider improving insulation: Loft insulation is a quick and easy DIY job, and cavity wall insulation is usually straightforward and inexpensive.

Grants are available for landlords to help or even totally cover the costs of energy-saving improvements. Check out the Energy Saving Trust for details of what's available for your area.

Test your heating system

Pipes and hot water cylinders should all be well lagged to prevent freezing if there's a cold snap. If you have a void period in the colder months, consider leaving heating on its very lowest setting to stop burst pipes.

Radiators should be bled, and thermostats checked to make sure your heating system is running at its most efficient.

Picture by Jokkman