Landlords are being advised to carry out a winter check on their properties or face hefty repair bills from over the festive fortnight. Research by TheHouseShop.com shows landlords in the private sector could be landed with bills up to 50% higher than usual for any emergency callouts during the Christmas period.
The company asked for estimates for urgent callouts over Christmas and the New Year for services including window repairs, tree surgery, boiler repairs and plumbing.They found costs increasing from 20% to 50% during this two-week period. TheHouseShop.com co-founder, Nick Marr, added that landlords would also find it difficult to make an appointment, as many businesses shut down over the Christmas break. December and January are expected to be busy months because of the cold weather, which means that demand rises dramatically for quick fixes or emergency work. LondonSashWindows.com owner, Christopher Gaudiv, agreed. He said landlords will find it difficult to get an appointment for an emergency repair over the Christmas week. He said many business owners, himself included, found it difficult to find someone willing to work, especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which puts up prices. Property maintenance prices, such as cleaning, gardening or pest control, will also increase during this time, because of the lack of tradespeople working during the festive period.
It makes sound business sense, therefore, to carry out property inspections and checks beforehand, so that any repairs can be booked in and dealt with. This could be in the form of a mini check-in to make sure the house is draughtproof, windows and frames are in good order, the boiler is working, the pipes are not leaking, and the heating and hot water are fine. These works could be scheduled in to an appointment planner or any software the landlord uses to deal with administration. As well as being a potential money-saver, it also shows the tenant that the landlord has their best interests at heart.
Another survey by online letting agent, upad.co.uk, shows nearly half of all private landlords do not routinely carry out winter maintenance checks on the properties in their portfolio. This could lead to problems worsening, expensive repairs and dissatisfied tenants, who may choose to live elsewhere. Checks could include inspecting the roof for loose tiles, as well as clearing gutters and drains. Make sure the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly. It could be prudent to think about adding a burglar alarm to reassure tenants on dark nights. Take a look at home insurance policies to make sure they include protection for any winter or weather-related damage.
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