Posted on

Landlord obligations when letting to students

If you live in a university city, buying a property to let to students could be a profitable move.

Letting property to students has both its up and downs. While demand is high and you can maximise your property’s earning potential by charging per room, it is also likely to require more regular maintenance and repairs, and you may have to deal with complaints from neighbours if your tenants like to party!

While letting to students isn’t too different from regular letting, landlords should make sure they’re clear on their responsibilities and legal obligations as student accommodation landlords before advertising their property to let for students.

Understanding the key differences between regular letting and letting student accommodation will help to ensure that you provide a good service to the students living on your property as well as protecting you against prosecution.

Here at Mistoria Estate Agents, we have a team of expert letting agents in Salford who understand the legal responsibilities of student landlords inside out.

Getting set up as a student landlord

First, to let your property to students, you need to make sure you’re set up correctly. This may involve obtaining an HMO (house in multiple occupation) license.

An HMO license is required if your property is going to be shared by three or more tenants from different households, making it applicable to a lot of rented residential student accommodation.

Next, you’ll need to draw up your student tenancy agreements. Most student tenancy agreements are fixed-term assured shorthold tenancies. You will either require a joint tenancy agreement or a sole tenancy agreement.  With a joint tenancy agreement, the contract starts and ends at the same time for all occupants, and everyone shares joint liability. A single tenancy agreement is usually more suitable for students as this type of contract means that each tenant’s contract can be started or terminated at a different time if required. It also means that each tenant is responsible for their own payments, deposit, and actions.

Landlord obligations when letting to students

If you decide to let your property to students, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are aware of your legal obligations. Failure to understand your obligations could cause you to unwittingly commit a criminal offence which may result in a fine or even prosecution.

Ensure that the property is safe

According to the government website, it is a landlord’s legal responsibility to keep student housing ‘safe and free from health hazards.’

This includes:

  • Having gas appliances and boilers serviced annually by a Gas Safe engineer
  • Provide tenants with a copy of the gas safety certification, which must have a minimum rating of ‘E’
  • Fitting smoke alarms on every floor
  • Ensuring electrical systems and appliances are safe and providing tenants (in England) with a copy of the latest Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
  • Checking furniture and furnishing are fire safe
  • Fitting a CO2 alarm in any room containing a solid fuel-burning appliance
  • Providing fire alarms and extinguishers in any large HMO properties

Register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

As a landlord, you will need to collect and store personal details about your tenants, prospective tenants, and their guarantors. This means you are classed as a ‘data controller’ and are required to ensure that you are using the personal details you collect according to the principles of GDPR (general data protection regulation). To legally collect and store individuals’ personal details, including their names and contact details, you will need to first register with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Use a government-approved deposit scheme

According to the Housing Act 2004, landlords must place tenant deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDP). In England and Wales, there are three schemes to choose from, these are:

These schemes are designed to ensure that tenants receive their deposits back, providing that they meet the terms of their tenancy, don’t damage the property, and pay their rent and bills. Landlords are obligated to put the deposit into the scheme within 30 days of receiving it and should return the deposit within 10 days of agreeing on how much is being repaid to the tenant.

Tenants should also be supplied with details of the scheme that their deposit is being kept in within 30 days of giving it to the landlord.

Verify that tenants are students

Landlords are required to verify that all tenants are full-time students and are registered at an educational institution.

Not charge fees for administrative tasks

According to the Tenant Fees Act 2019, landlords should not charge students fees for any of the following:

  • Referencing
  • Letting contract
  • Inventory
  • Credit check
  • Administrative tasks

Carry out repairs and maintenance

It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the structure of the property is always in good condition and to carry out any repairs and maintenance as required.

Give notice before entering the property

If you require access to the student property you’re letting for any reason, you must always give at least 24 hours’ notice before turning up on the doorstep. You cannot legally visit the property without giving your student tenants adequate warning.

Pay to service, maintain and repair all essential installations

This includes the property’s water supply and plumbing, electricity, gas, and heating appliances.

Ensure room sizes meet the minimum requirement for HMOs

If your student property is an HMO, there is a minimum floor area requirement for rooms that are to be used for sleeping in. These minimum requirements are as follows:

  • 4.64 square meters for one person aged under 10 years
  • 6.51 square meters for one person aged over 10 years
  • 10.22 square meters for two people aged over 10 years

Abide by the terms of the tenancy agreement

As a landlord, you will expect your tenants to abide by the agreed terms of your contract by paying their rent on time and looking after your property. In return, student landlords should always ensure that they also respect the terms of the contract, including giving the agreed amount of notice before entering the property and providing the services stated in the agreement.

Should you use a letting agent when renting to students?

Whether or not you use a letting agent to manage your student accommodation is a personal decision.

Many landlords that let to students choose to use a letting agent because of the more complex rules, and regulations for landlords surrounding rented student accommodation.

Here at Mistoria Estate Agents Salford, we have specialist student letting agents in Salford helping many student landlords in and around Manchester understand student accommodation rules for landlords and helping them to fulfil their student landlord obligations.

Read more about our letting agent services for student landlords online or give our team a call on 0800 500 3015 to find out more about how we can help you to manage the student accommodation or student housing you let.

Posted on

Should parents invest in buy-to-let to help their children with university?

Salford student houses

A recent survey found a massive two thirds of parents are considering investing in buy-to-let Salford student houses to assist their child through university as fees and costs of living become more and more daunting.

The rising price of rent as well as high fees is making university a harder and harder prospect for many students who can often struggle to make ends meet with just their maintenance loan and a part time job.

The online mortgage broker Trussle found 66% of parents believe helping their child via purchasing a buy-to-let student property was a smart idea.

The idea is to let their child live in the property while they were at university for whatever in-house rent the family agreed, hopefully lowering their living costs.

Once their child had finished their course and were ready to move onto the next stage of their life the parents would then be able to rent out their house to other students and begin making returns on their investment.

The survey of 2,000 homeowners even found 53% of parents would consider downsizing their family home to help support their child through university.

Parents are not wrong that student buy-to-lets are a sound investment at the moment for the past few years they have outpaced the rest of the rental sector, with yields growing by as much as 17.86% larger than the rest of the rental sector.

The value of the private rental sector as a whole has also soared recently.

According to the Shawbrook Bank the total value of the private rental sector rose by 5.8% between August 2020 and August 2021 to a total of £1.4 trillion.

This is lower than the general rise of all properties which increased by almost 10% in the same period.

Shawbrook bank also found demand for rent was soaring with 42% of landlords saying they had more people than ever looking for a property, with a third of landlords adding they are looking to add another property to their portfolio in the next year.

Trussle did note in their survey that tax changes had skewed against landlords in recent years making buy-to-let investments not the super lucrative investments they used to be.

However, Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at Trussle said their data showed “that property is still seen as a safe and reliable way of generating extra income.”

The investments also make sense in the medium term through rental income and in the long term through the rise in property prices.

So, although the cost of entry may be higher than before, and the returns may not be as massive, there is still a huge demand for rental properties plenty of room to grow and huge amounts of confidence the rental market will remain strong.

One way to maximise your returns is to get the best advice on where to invest and how to manage the property.

The multitude of taxes and regulations that come with managing a buy-to-let student property can be mind boggling at first and this is where Mistoria can help.

Mistoria manages 1000 properties in the private and student rental sector and is a specialist in helping investors interested in getting involved in the market.

On top of this Mistoria can also give advice on where to invest, the dozens of university towns and cities across the UK present plenty of options but some offer vastly higher returns than others.

Rents may be high in London but property prices are even higher.

Whereas Salford student houses and other areas like Liverpool and Bolton, property prices are low but the ever-increasing student population means yields are only going to increase over time.

Call us on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk.

Posted on

Right To Rent changes from 30th June 2021

right to rent changes

Changes to Right to Rent legislation in the UK come into effect from 1st July 2021, ending the grace period put into place following the country’s exit from the EU. The change means that letting agents will move from checking nationality to checking the UK immigration status of all adult tenancy applicants.

Right to Rent is the legislation that requires landlords and agents to check the immigration status of prospective tenants to ensure they have the right to rent in the UK. The temporary changes meant that citizens of European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland only needed to prove their citizenship while applying for settled status in the UK. When the interim measures lift, it will mean that these people need to provide evidence of their UK immigration status too.

New guidance has been issued by the Home Office for agents and landlords to follow from 1st July 2021. The Home Office has been working with ARLA Propertymark, who says that “From this point, if someone is an EEA, EU, or Swiss national, you will need to see evidence of their UK immigration status rather than their national identification”. Anyone who has applied for and been granted settled status will have digital evidence of their application, and this should be shared digitally using the online Right to Rent services from the Home Office on the Gov.uk website.

Digital checks have been an option since December 2020 and involve the prospective tenant sharing a time code and their date of birth, which landlords use to check their immigration status online. However, not all applicants will use the digital service and may have other evidence of their immigration status, including physical documents.

Another change to Right to Rent checks is related to Covid-19. The way that checks were carried out was temporarily readjusted to make them safer during the pandemic. From 1st September, landlords and letting agents will be returning to face-to-face and physical document checks. This is in accordance with the easing of lockdown rules and social distancing measures, aligning with the roadmap for England set out by the Government. This change has been postponed twice, first set for 16th May, then 20th June.

Currently, Right to Rent checks can be made over video calls and tenants can send scanned documents or photos of documents using email or a mobile app. The online Right to Rent service can also be used during a video call if the prospective tenant has a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system. When these temporary changes end on 1st September, landlords and their agents must either check the applicant’s original documents or check their right to rent online if given their share code for the service.

Both landlords and EEA/EU/Swiss citizens applying for tenancies should be aware of these changes related to Brexit and to Covid-19. The situation regarding Covid-19 could also be subject to change, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what’s happening.

Mistoria Estate Agents Salford are Salford property experts and can help guide both landlords and tenants through any property related matter. If you need help and advice on the new Right to Rent checks and what is means for you, please contact our team on 0800 500 3015 or use our contact form.

Posted on

Two Views on the Ending of the Evictions Ban in the UK

salford letting agents

For the pandemic period, a “new normal” has been in place. This new normal has included an unprecedented financial package from the government to help individuals who have lost their incomes to support themselves and find new work. One helpful measure has been the “eviction ban” that prevents landlords from evicting tenants who can’t pay their rent. But as the pandemic nears its end this ban has been lifted prompting concerns on both sides of the divide. In this article our Salford letting agents look at the views of both landlords and tenants, each of whom has equally valid views on the government’s latest pandemic decision.

The view of tenants

As the Covid-19 pandemic draws to a close the government has decided to curtail the ban on evictions put in place during the pandemic to protect the homes of tenants. Under this law, tenants are not able to pay the rent due to pandemic circumstances – job loss or furlough – we’re not legally obliged to leave the property – that is no longer the case.

As of May 2021 landlords with tenants who do not pay rent or are in substantial arrears can be evicted from the property. This means that those who have suffered a loss of income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and were not able to pay rent, as a result, might now find themselves homeless.

Who is affected?

According to recent reports, the lifting of the eviction ban could affect up to one million people in the coming weeks and months. It’s estimated that 400,000 people have already been served with an eviction notice by their landlords as a result of unpaid rent or rental arrears. This could precipice a housing crisis.

The pandemic has rocked the country as a whole and uncertain times lay ahead, but for renters, with low paying work or zero-hours contracts, their position was already precarious. The eviction ban was a lifesaver for many people as it allowed them some breathing space after losing a job and going onto benefits. While many of those people now have paid work again, rent arrears still put them at risk of eviction.

A housing crisis

Those same people who are only now getting back on their feet now have to stress about whether they will have a bed to sleep in after their shift or if they have to find a way of securing a new property on a low-income wage. Up to a million people are expected to be affected by the lifting of the eviction ban, raising the thorny question of where they are expected to go.

The view of landlords

When the pandemic struck it is fair to say it affected everyone. It’s also fair to say that the response to the pandemic was fair to governments, individuals, businesses, and landlords. It’s hard to imagine a landlord objecting to the eviction ban in the first few months of the pandemic. But now things are different.

As the pandemic grinds on and things appear to be looking more promising with the rollout of several vaccines, the government has decided to lift the eviction ban and give landlords the power to demand their rent from tenants once again. This has not been easy for tenants with high arrears but there are good reasons for it.

The counter-argument

It’s easy to take the side of tenants who have been affected by the pandemic and can’t pay rent temporarily, it’s even easier to take their side when the landlords in question are portfolio landlords with many properties on their books. But that isn’t always the case, and in fact, the majority are single property owners.

Single property owners use the rent from their tenants to pay for their own mortgage, so when this isn’t coming in their mortgage stops. With the eviction ban in place, landlords were finding that tenants didn’t respond to letters asking for rent because they knew they were safe from eviction – some even told their landlords to take mortgage holidays.

The future

As we leave the pandemic and the eviction ban is lifted it would seem to spell the end of a difficult financial time for landlords – but that isn’t necessarily the case. If tenants don’t pay their rent the landlord will be forced to evict them and shoulder the weight of arrears there are owed. Under present circumstances, there is no guarantee of a new reliable tenant either. What is needed is a benefits package from the government to help tenants pay landlords in the short term.

Salford Letting Agents

As Salford letting agents, Mistoria Estate Agents understands the property industry in detail. We specialise in student accommodation but can offer expert help and advice on all forms of property letting. For more information on what we do, contact us on 0800 500 3015 or use the details on our contact page.

Posted on

How to Avoid Deposit Disputes as a Student Tenant

Salford student houses

Deposit disputes at student lettings can be stressful and time-consuming. Fortunately, with proper planning and preparation, most can be avoided altogether. As the new academic year begins, here are some things students should know about that reduce the likelihood of deposit disputes in our Salford student houses.

The Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) Scheme and Prescribed Information

When you have paid your deposit, the landlord must place it in one of three government-approved tenancy deposit schemes within thirty days of receiving it. This ensures that you will get your deposit back if you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement, don’t damage the property, and pay your rent and bills. The rule applies even if your deposit is paid by someone other than yourself, such as your parents.

Within the same timeframe of 30 days, your landlord must serve you the Prescribed Information, which includes the details you will need on the TDP scheme, including how the deposit is protected and how to apply to get it back.

If there is a dispute over how much of your deposit you will get back, it will be protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is resolved. When you have come to an agreement with your landlord, they have ten days to return the agreed amount to you.

The Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord. It can be written or verbal, though it is generally better to have a written contract so that everyone knows what is expected of them. It should lay out the important details and responsibilities relating to your tenancy, including:

  • Your name, the name of your landlord and the address of the property that is being let
  • The start and end dates of your tenancy
  • The rent amount and who is liable to pay it
  • What the rent includes, for example council tax or electricity bills
  • Cleaning and maintenance responsibilities. This should include the landlord’s obligations for making repairs to the property, and your responsibility to keep the property clean and tidy.

Sharing a house with other tenants

In addition to your tenancy agreement, it can be helpful to make a separate, informal agreement between yourself and the other tenants living at the property. It could be written or verbal, and might include the division of responsibilities like washing up and cleaning communal areas, and any rules to keep everybody happy, like not playing loud music after a certain time.

As well as maintaining good relationships between tenants, this could also benefit your relationship with your landlord by ensuring the house is kept in good condition and not disturbing the neighbours.

Helpful Tips

Know your landlord’s contact information

Your landlord must provide you with their name and address before they can charge rent. If you do not have this information, you can make a written request to the person who receives the rent for the full name and address of the landlord. They are then legally obliged to provide you with this information in writing within 21 days.

Start your search early for the next academic year

Landlords and student letting agents usually put their properties on the market early for the following academic year – often around mid-October. By taking advantage of this and finding your property early, you will have more properties to choose from and will be able to iron out all of the details with your landlord in plenty of time, reducing the risk of deposit disputes further down the line.

Further Information about our Salford student houses

Whilst following the advice here will significantly improve your chances of a dispute-free student tenancy, it doesn’t cover everything. To learn more about TDP schemes, tenancy agreements or anything else related to student lettings, contact us on 0800 500 3015 so we can advise you further.

Mistoria Estate Agents is one of the leading student lettings agencies in the North West, with offices in Manchester, Salford, Liverpool and Bolton. Our Comprehensive Property Protection means all properties go through our inventory service to include photographic or video evidence, protecting both landlord and tenant.

We are members of ARLA Propertymark which means we meet higher industry standards than the law demands. Our experts undertake regular training to ensure they are up to date with best practice and complex legislative changes so they can offer you the best advice. We are also backed by a Client Money Protection scheme which guarantees your money is protected.

Posted on

Landlords: are you prepared for the EICR deadline?

salford letting agents

In July 2020, the Government introduced new Regulations on electrical safety standards in the private rented sector. They require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested at least once every 5 years. Currently, this applies to all properties that were let from 1 July 2020, but from 1 April 2021 it will also apply to pre-existing tenancies. With coronavirus restrictions ongoing, arranging the electrical safety inspection will require extra preparation, so it’s important you begin the work as soon as possible. Salford letting agents, Mistoria Estate Agents, has put together some useful information to help you understand and navigate the process.

The Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR)

The electrical safety inspection must be carried out by a qualified and competent electrician. For help finding one in your area, you can use the Registered Competent Person Electrical single mark and register, a Government-approved tool. From the inspection, you will obtain a report, known as the Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR). This will detail the results and set a date for the next inspection and test. As a landlord, you must supply a copy of this to:

  • the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test
  • a new tenant before they move in
  • any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report
  • the local authority within 7 days of receiving a request.

You should also keep a copy of the report to give the inspector when the next test is due. If the inspection reveals that further investigation or repairs are needed, you must ensure these works are completed within 28 days of receiving the report. You are then required to obtain written confirmation from the electrician stating that repairs have been completed, and supply this to the tenant and local authority within 28 days of completion.

Conducting electrical safety inspections under coronavirus restrictions

The inspection requires an electrician to enter the property to assess all electrical appliances – it cannot be done remotely. With stringent coronavirus restrictions still in place, landlords will need to take additional steps to ensure the inspection runs safely and smoothly.

If you have tenants moving out before the April deadline, you should leave a gap before new tenants move in, so that the inspection can be completed whilst the property is empty. For long-term tenants, you must inform them about the inspection and arrange a time and date that is most suitable for both of you. For example, the inspection could be completed whilst the tenant is out at work, or during a time when they are able to remain in one room for the duration, thus minimising any risk of possible infection. It’s also important to listen to any other concerns the tenant may have about the inspection and consider how they can be addressed.

How can our Salford letting agents help?

As a professional Salford letting agents, Mistoria Estate Agents understands the property industry regulations in detail. We can help you ensure your property meets these, including preparing for an electrical safety inspection. We specialise in student accommodation but can offer expert help and advice on all forms of property letting. For more information on what we do, contact us on 0800 500 3015 or use the details on our contact page.

Posted on

The rise of virtual property viewings

salford student house share

Virtual property viewings can take various forms, but the most common is for the seller to show interested renters or buyers around the property via a video app such as WhatsApp, Facetime or Zoom. Their popularity has grown significantly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling people to keep moving despite the circumstances, and many predict that they will continue to be popular once it is over. So, what’s their appeal? Specialists in Salford student house share, Mistoria Estate Agents explains…

They’re COVID-safe

Virtual property viewings remove the risk of infection entirely and mean that you don’t need to worry about safety measures such as masks, handwashing and social distancing which, although absolutely necessary for in-person viewings, can make them trickier and more stressful.

Quicker, easier and more convenient

By conducting virtual viewings of properties that initially appeal to you, you can quickly draw up a shortlist of those that fit what you’re looking for. This saves time and effort you’d usually spend traipsing around multiple properties that aren’t suitable, and not having to travel between properties saves money on fuel and reduces carbon emissions. Also, virtual property viewings offer more flexibility. You’re more likely to be able to book in for a time and date that suits you, and if there are multiple people searching together, they don’t need to be together for the viewing – internet access is all that’s required! In addition, in many cases an agent will participate in the viewing along with the seller, so you can get answers to all your questions about a property as normal.

In-person viewings are still possible

Before purchasing or renting a property, it’s natural to want to have a look around in-person at least once, and this shouldn’t be an issue despite the ongoing pandemic. Virtual property viewings haven’t overtaken in-person viewings completely; they simply offer a quicker, easier, COVID-secure way of determining which properties really appeal to you. Most sellers, landlords and estate agents are still happy to conduct in-person viewings for those who are serious about a property, and these should involve rigorous safety procedures including social distancing, mask-wearing and sanitised surfaces to minimise the risk of infection.

Virtually viewing a Salford student house share

The pandemic shouldn’t stop you from moving; it simply means that everyone involved must take extra precautions where possible, and virtual viewings are a great way of doing this. Mistoria Estate Agents specialise in Salford student house share and we are offering virtual viewings to help guide people in their property search. To find out more, or for help and advice in any other related area, call us on 0800 500 3015 or use the details on our contact page.

Posted on

How to let or rent a property during lockdown in England

houses to rent salford

In these difficult times, dealing with property-related matters, such as viewings and move-ins, can be very stressful, as there are additional safety considerations involved for all parties. With this in mind, Salford-based Mistoria Estate Agents will explain what falls within the rules in England whether you are looking to rent or let a property in lockdown, and how to minimise the risk of infection in the process.

Advice for letting in lockdown

In England, government guidance says that estate agents, letting agents and removal firms can continue to work. This means you can let a property in lockdown to new tenants

The rules state there should not be more than one household in any home at any time, so ideally yourself and existing tenants should be absent from a property during an in person viewing. You should also ensure all surfaces are thoroughly disinfected before and after the viewing.

You can still bring in a professional cleaner if needed before new tenants move in, and tradespeople can carry out maintenance and repair work on the property provided they follow the safety guidelines.

Advice for renting in lockdown

In England, you are allowed to look to rent a property in lockdown. Carrying out activities related to renting a residential property is considered a reasonable excuse to leave home. However, the government says you should carry out initial property searches online if possible, rather visiting your local estate agent.

If you are considering renting a particular property, you can still book to attend a viewing in person, though it is advisable to request a virtual viewing first. Many agents and letting services have taken steps to enable this.

Should you wish to view a property in person, you must abide by the rules and take measures to avoid spreading the virus. This will include wearing a face mask, staying two metres away from other people, and washing your hands before and after the viewing.

When you are ready to move into a new property, people outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless it is absolutely necessary.

Available Mistoria houses to rent Salford

If you’re looking for houses to rent Salford based Mistoria Estate Agents has a wide range of impressive student properties available for rent and for buy-to-let agreements across the city. We have implemented measures to ensure the safety of our existing tenants and those looking to rent with us. If you’d like to know more, please use our contact page or call us on 0800 500 3015.

We are members of ARLA Propertymark which means we meet higher industry standards than the law demands. Our experts undertake regular training to ensure they are up to date with best practice and complex legislative changes so they can offer you the best advice. We are also backed by a Client Money Protection scheme which guarantees your money is protected.

Posted on

New Mistoria HMO property video walk-through

We’re delighted to present a video walk-through of another recently renovated and refurbished HMO property.

This 4 bed, 1 bathroom, 1 reception room house share property in Salford is an example of the Mistoria Standard.

Tenants

This property is available for the next academic year (from 1/7/21). Please contact our Salford branch to request a viewing. You can view more details about the property here.

Rental properties from Mistoria are renovated to a similar standard. We have HMO and student house share properties available in Bolton, Liverpool and Salford. Contact your local branch or visit the websites for current listings.

Bolton – 01204 800 766

Liverpool– 0161 707 6106

Salford – 0161 707 6106

Landlords

Are you interested in investing in an HMO or student property like the one shown here? Speak to our Property Investment team on 0800 500 3015.

5 Wythburn Street, Salford

Posted on

A landlord’s guide to avoiding winter hazards in your property

student accommodation salford

When winter arrives in the UK and the weather turns, there are a number of property hazards that you may want to look out for. Staying on top of property maintenance can help you catch issues early and avoid having to claim on your landlord insurance.

Having a maintenance schedule in place can protect your investment, and tenants, against a range of property pitfalls, including those that may be more likely during the winter months. 

The follow have been identified by leading property insurers as the top winter hazards facing property owners:

  1. loss of roof tiles
  2. water penetration due to poorly maintained flat roofs
  3. guttering and chimney stack damage
  4. problems with walls and outbuildings including damage to garden cabins/sheds, garages and greenhouses and
  5. damage to garden equipment. 

What property hazards should I look out for in winter?

Research shows that many landlords leave their properties, and therefore their investment, at risk of damage. Each property can differ when it comes to key weaknesses during colder weather however, the above mentioned common issues to watch out for are explained in more detail below:

Loose roof tiling – get a professional roofer to inspect your roof. Damaged, missing or loose tiles can cause serious damage in high winds.

Water damage – it’s key that any leak, severe condensation and/or mould is identified and fixed as soon as possible. Prolonged water exposure will cause serious damage to the structural health of your property, and the health of your tenants, as exposure to mould can cause severe respiratory problems.

Blocked gutters – as the leaves fall from the trees, they can become clogged, preventing rainwater from draining properly. If left unchecked, this could lead to issues with your roof, including internal leaking.

Loose fence panels – fix or replace them if necessary. Fence panels can fly off in extreme win and cause damage to your home and potentially your neighbour’s property.

Secure loose objects in your garden or move them elsewhere – wind can play havoc with your garden furniture and ornaments; move them indoors or secure them.

Cut back branches – tall, overgrown trees and large bushes in your garden can cause damage in storms. Cut them back to reduce the chance of this happening.

Put up flood defences before bad weather arrives – you can find sandbag-like products to block doors and entrances.

Also keep an eye on the boiler in your rental property during the winter. The last thing you want is for your tenants to be left without heating and hot water, especially when the temperature has dropped.

Another issue to bear in mind is when water is left in the pipes and the heating is not on (perhaps you have student tenants that travel home for an extended break over Christmas, leaving your property empty), the water could freeze and later lead to burst pipes.

How can I protect my property from these winter perils?

A good place to start is regular maintenance checks. By taking a look around the interior and exterior of the property, you can keep an eye on its condition. The sooner you spot an issue, the better your chances of fixing it before it gets worse. You should especially consider performing a maintenance check soon after any extreme weather, such as heavy rain or snow.

Understandably, you can’t be at the property all the time to notice such issues however, you could encourage your tenants to be extra vigilant. Tell them to look out for signs of leaking pipes, damp patches and mould. You’d expect them to be in touch if these problems occur anyway, but there might be some areas that they don’t go into often, such as a loft, attic or hard to reach areas where the pipes are. Encouraging tenants to report any maintenance problems might also allow you to catch them early.

Help to avoid burst pipes by keeping the heating on at a constant temperature or by having the property professionally drained down if it is left empty for a while. 

Sometimes damage to a property is inevitable, and you will have no choice but to pay for repair work. Having suitable landlord insurance in place might also provide you with the financial protection you need.

How can we help look after your rental property?

Part of the professional letting agent service from Mistoria Estate Agents Salford includes managing any maintenance issues your property may require. We conduct thorough property inspections and the beginning, end and during any tenancy to ensure your property is being looked after and is fit for habitation.

Our dedicated maintenance team has inspected hundreds of properties and knows exactly what to look out for, ensuring your property is kept in top condition and is fit for purpose. We specialise in student accommodation Salford, however if you are a landlord of any sort and would like to discuss in more detail the service Mistoria Estate Agents Salford can offer you, please contact us on 0800 500 3015.