Buy to let property investors urged to think ahead this winter

Tenants should be shown how heating system works to avoid burst pipes and other heating related problems

The National Landlords Association (NLA) is reminding buy to let property investors on the UK to ensure that their properties and tenants are prepared for the winter months.

During last year’s particularly cold winter, a significant number of properties were damaged by burst pipes because tenants didn’t know how to shut off the heating system.

Landlords should make sure that tenants are shown how to shut off water to the property, especially if they are to vacate the property over Christmas, to prevent any damage caused by frozen pipes, says the NLA. Alternatively, the heating system thermostat should be set to prevent it from freezing.

Tenants should also be shown how central heating systems work and where the gas boiler is located, along with where the emergency gas shut off valve is.

The NLA is also encouraging landlords to make energy improvements to their properties. Many initiatives will be accessible through the Government’s Green Deal, set to be available from autumn 2012.

Some key ways to improve a property’s energy efficiency include loft insulation which should be to a minimum depth of 270 mm to stop heat loss through the ceiling and cavity wall and floor insulation to stop heat escaping where possible.

Fitting lagging to hot water pipes and tanks can significantly reduce heat loss and stop pipes from freezing and draft proofing by filling gaps between floorboards and skirting boards is also advised.

‘It’s important that tenants know how the heating system works in their property. Each winter, many rented properties are damaged by burst pipes because tenants don’t know how to shut off the heating system,’ said David Salusbury, NLA chairman.

‘Making a property more energy efficient provides benefits for all involved. Tenants will be warmer and energy bills reduced. A higher energy efficiency rating, which is measured by an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), may also benefit the landlord by making a house more attractive to prospective tenants,’ he explained.

‘All these factors help the environment, so the NLA encourages landlords to consider the government’s Green Deal when it is formally introduced next year,’ he added.

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