Here are some things to bear in mind:
1. Water damage/leaks
Water can do a whole heap of damage if the source of the problem isn't treated early. Ultimately it can make the property unstable, therefore unfit for occupation – costing you valuable rent. The most common time for water-related issues is when the weather is more extreme: either very cold (causing pipes to expand), or during very hot weather (when the pipes tend to “sweat”). To combat this, inspect your property on a regular basis (every 3 months), get your pipes lagged, and ask your tenants to inspect the pipes if the weather has been particularly extreme (under the sink, around the boiler and water heaters as a starting point). Find out more about lagging your pipes here.
2. Smoke & Carbon Dioxide detectors
If there is a fire or a carbon dioxide leak in your property, and your smoke/carbon dioxide detector isn't working - you could face legal action. Test them monthly, and replace the carbon monoxide detector after 5 years, and the smoke detector after 10. It's always best to be on the safe side.
3. Bathroom caulking and grout
Similar to water damage, it is important to rectify cracking in the grout between tiles, or loosening of the caulking surrounding a bath tub early. The later you leave it, the bigger the problem it could be, resulting in mold and unstable flooring.
Having mice or rats in your property is a nightmare, as it can cause your tenants to leave, and put off prospective tenants. A loss of rental income is a much more costly scenario than getting pest control in to sort out the issue.
5. Property structure
It is important to inspect your property's structure regularly as structural issues with the property mean rent ceases to be payable. If you have buildings insurance you should be able to rehouse your tenants; if you don't, your tenants could sue. All in all not the ideal situation, with you certainly out of pocket, so inspecting the property's structure on a regular basis is really worth doing.
6. The boiler
It's 4am, and you get a phone call from your tenant saying the boiler's broken. Not ideal. We would recommend British Gas's landlord services as a good way of covering yourself and your property. This should reduce the chance of emergency calls from your tenants, and the expensive emergency call out fees from an engineer. Find out more about British Gas's landlord services here.
Here are some other more minor things to think about:
- Trim trees and shrubs so they don’t interfere with the foundation or exterior walls.
- Check gutters are clear - they may need clearing after autumn and spring.
- Clean chimney annually.
- Check doors and windows.
- Check appliances.
- Check for holes in the wall or peeling paint.