Thursday 27 November 2014

Top 5 property maintenance tips for winter

The following tips can be applied all year round but are particularly relevant at this time of year as it gets colder, darker and wetter outside.

1) Familiarise yourself with the property

Ensure you know where the fusebox, gas safety valve and water stop valve are and how they operate, in case of an emergency (I provide a house guide to my tenants with this information in).

Check how the heating works to ensure you have optimised its efficiency and set it so it best suits your lifestyle.

2) Keep on top of basic maintenance

Check roofs and gutters for slipped or damaged tiles and for any leaks. Check overflows and pipework for any leaks as well as damp smells or flaking paint, which may indicate a hidden problem.

Bleed the radiators and check the pressure of the boiler to see if it needs topping up.

3) Avoid condensation

Build-up of condensation can be more prevalent in winter as more heating is used, clothes are dried inside and there is a tendency to want all the windows shut.

All this moisture in the property needs to go somewhere however and will invariably attach itself to cold surfaces (exterior walls / window surrounds) and create unsightly condensation / mould patches.

A property needs to breathe!

Keep windows open throughout the property, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens and especially during and after showering/bathing and cooking. Use extractor fans where fitted and wipe down any wet surfaces after using the shower/bath.

4) Don’t turn the heating off

This is very important to prevent the freezing of the water system and expensive burst pipes.

The easiest solution if you are planning to be away from the property is to leave the boiler on and set the thermostat to a low temperature i.e. 14°.

The alternative if you are going away for a longer period is to drain down the whole water system i.e. turn off the water stop valve then flush all toilets and run all taps until no water comes out.

5) Fire safety

Do not overload electrical sockets with appliances and Christmas lights as this can cause a fire hazard.

Avoid using candles, particularly near Christmas trees, decorations and curtains.

Test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they are working correctly.

6) Security (I always like to give a bit extra)

Ensure all doors and windows are locked when vacating the property. If you have suitable blinds fitted, it is advised that they are half-closed so you cannot see from the outside whether the property is vacant.

If possible, it is advised that front doors are double-locked from the inside at night to prevent burglars ‘jimmying’ them open using a tool through the letterbox. Do ensure the keys are nearby (but out of sight) in case of fire. Keep car keys out of sight also.


I believe prevention is better than cure, which is why I pre-arm my tenants with a 'winter maintenance guide' at the beginning of their tenancy and re-issue it as winter approaches.

You can download this short guide, free of charge, from

winter property maintenance advice and tips


If you are looking for an agent that is well-establishedprofessional and communicative in Chichester, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.

E-mail me on or call 01243 624 599.

Don't forget to visit the links below to view my previous buy-to-let deals and Chichester Property News articles:

c/o CRJ Lettings, 30B Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1DP

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