Autumn Maintenance Checklist (Inside)
Autumn Maintenance Checklist (Inside)
Having checked the outside, it is equally important to check that everything is working properly inside the property and to make sure that the tenants haven`t inadvertently altered anything. Internally you need to:
Make sure that the heating system has been checked, ensuring it works properly and that the heating controls are in good order. Record that there is an in date valid gas certificate in the property, that the radiator thermostats do turn on & off and there are no visible leaks on the pipework. Any sign of dis-colouring on the pipes could be a tell-tale of a leak and would need further investigation. During your visit it is worth having a conversation about heating the property in the winter and the importance of achieving an ambient temperature, not only to prevent condensation and mould but to remove the problems associated with a property going from warm to cold.
Check the smoke alarms; as we look to turning on gas boilers or lighting up an open fire, it is imperative that they are tested, to make sure they are working and to inform the tenant to regularly test them and let you know if they stop working. The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms changes to regulation now make it a legal requirement that working and correctly placed alarms are in place. CO alarms are mandatory in the property where any combustible appliance is being used (gas cookers are the only item which is exempt). If there is an open fireplace the tenant needs to confirm that there is a certificate for the sweeping of the chimney/flu, and that it is safe to use. It is advisable that the landlord arranges this before the tenancy starts and then hands over the responsibility to the tenant but keeps a close eye at the anniversary date.
View if there is a feed and expansion tank in the roof space, and if so to check the float arm works to let the valve allow water in and make sure there is a lid which fits securely. If there is no lid then check that the tank is clean and obtain a proper fitting lid to prevent debris from entering the water, helping to protect the system from the risk of legionella.
Make sure that any pipes in the roof space are adequately insulated to stop them freezing as plumbing can always be an unexpected nuisance. The same applies on condensing boilers to the external overflow pipe given that if this freezes the boiler stops working. Stopcocks need to be tested and replaced if faulty, as leaving them in a faulty condition will mean the tenant will be unable to shut off the mains water.
Check the roof insulation is in place and of the correct depth (12” is recommended), it is evenly spread and goes right out to the edges of the roof space to give an even constant covering thus preventing condensation/mould on the outer edges of ceilings below. Make sure that doors and windows shut effectively to prevent draughts, especially on letterboxes and weatherboards.
Check any external air vents, to make sure they are clear and drawing air.
Check, in the kitchen, the cooker hood and any other air extraction appliances, to make certain they are fully operational and can remove the build up of condensation during the colder months.
Check in the bathroom, that the air extractor fan is working and has not been turned off at the isolating switch. It would be wise in rooms that are known to be damp, to replace the air extractor with a humidistat fan that continues running until the moisture has been removed.
Lastly remind tenants not to dry wet clothes on the radiators and if desperate to do so, it is on a rack in one room with the door closed and windows open to ventilate the room giving good air circulation and removing as much moisture as possible. If this becomes an issue, it would be worth checking if an outside clothes line can be put up and if not considering supplying a washer dryer to prevent the drying of clothes inside.
In order to keep an eye of both your property and the maintenance issues, it is worth putting a diary visit for the winter period, but do make sure it is in daylight, so everywhere can be properly seen and checked. At the time of the visit it is worth having a conversation with your tenant to find out if there are any other maintenance issues that are not readily visible, as often tenants are loath to mention them!