Recent weeks have seen the temperature drop a few degrees and more call for woolly hats, scarves, gloves and thicker jackets. In some parts of the country snow and icy conditions have even been witnessed. All of which means, if it’s not quite fully arrived yet, that winter is very much on its way.
The winter months usually bring with them a cold chill, which makes it doubly important for rental properties to be kept nice and toasty.
As a landlord, you will have already taken steps to ensure your home is properly insulated and energy efficient, but there is also advice you can give to your tenants to ensure they don’t suffer any ill-effects from the cold – from how to keep the warmth in to using the heating properly.
Below, using our experience as West Lothian’s first dedicated lettings agency, we outline some top tips you can pass over.
Keep doors firmly shut
Heat escaping a room and cold air moving around a house are two things you don’t want when you’re eager to keep things warm. Leaving doors wide open, however, is one way of ensuring this happens. Tenants who keep doors closed as much as possible will see the benefit; allowing them to contain rather than lose heat.
Get to grips with the thermostat
It can actually be more efficient – and less costly – for the heating to be kept on at a constantly low heat, rather than being switched on and off at regular intervals for short, sharp bursts of warmth. Lower heating bills are, of course, good for both you and your tenants.
But tenants will need to do this efficiently, which means getting to grips with the thermostat and its various settings. Once tenants are well-versed in this, they can work on heating their property just the right amount.
Prevent heat from escaping
Carpets are very good at stopping heat from escaping and insulating floor space – in fact, that’s why carpet came into being in the first place. According to research by the National Energy Foundation, some 10% of heat from a property can be lost if floors aren’t properly insulated. If your rental property has wooden floors, you could encounter this very problem.
What tenants can do, though, is stem this loss with rugs and blankets. If there happens to be small gaps in the flooring, filler can be squirted to fill these gaps and stop the heat getting out. You could either provide tenants with these things or they can be easily purchased from any decent homeware or hardware store.
Stop the draughts
Draught excluders are very useful and, more importantly, very cheap. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours, but are unlikely to cost more than £10 (often much less).
They do exactly what it says on the tin – they exclude the draughts and help to keep your home warm by preventing that pesky cold air from getting under doors and through windows. No matter how well you insulate your home, it’s nigh on impossible to keep all the cold air out – which is where draught excluders come in very handy.
Tenants will be able to purchase these cheap from a wide range of shops.
Close the curtains
Drawing curtains and blinds helps to keep the heat in, something that is especially important in a bedroom or bathroom.
What tenants mustn’t do, however, is prevent any outside air coming in at all. This is only liable to cause problems with condensation, mould and damp.
So, even though keeping all windows closed might seem like a sensible measure, your rental property will need to be ventilated well at certain times, in particular after a meal has been cooked in the kitchen or a shower taken in the bathroom. Good ventilation is crucial to stop certain issues from occurring.
Of course, if more serious problems occur, you will need to step in to fix and remedy them, but there are more general things you can advise your tenants to do to keep the cold away.
At Letting Solutions we are there to help you keep your tenants happy at all times. To find out more about our services, please give us a call on 01506 496 006.
If you would like to know how much you could be charging in rent, check out our free and instant online valuation tool.