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Prepare Your Rental For Winter

Autumn is a good time to check your property to ensure it’s ready for the coming wet, colder months, writes Caleb Pearson, of Pearson + Projects.

By: Caleb Pearson

1 March 2023

The horrifying weather events during Cyclone Gabrielle brought so much destruction, and there are so many homes that are now uninhabitable. Hopefully autumn will be more settled, and investors can concentrate on cleaning up their properties ahead of winter.

As winter approaches there is an eventual transition where the temperature drops, rain becomes more frequent, and days are shortened. Before this shift takes place it’s a good time to take a review of your property to ensure it’s ready for the coming winter, and use the better weather to get small projects done.

Here are 10 areas to take a look at as part of an annual autumn property review:

GUTTERS, DOWNPIPES

With autumn leaves beginning to fall it’s the right time to check your roof, gutters and downpipes are free of leaves and debris. If there are trees overhanging your roof look to cut these back and away from your house. If you have ongoing issues consider investing in gutter guards and downpipe debris diverters to avoid blockages.

ROOFING

Your roof is your primary defence against water entering your house, so it needs to be sound. Roofing material is generally robust and long-lasting, but check for signs of ageing, deterioration or damage. Address immediate risk areas and make plans for longer term upgrades if apparent.

HEATING, FIREPLACES

The heating systems will start getting more use in the coming months, so check these are in good working order and operating efficiently. Check and clean filters in heat pumps, or have them professionally serviced.

A fireplace should be checked and cleaned annually (and likely a requirement for your insurance). Autumn’s a great time to do this prior to use over winter.

‘Joinery can move and seals do deteriorate and break’

VENTILATION

If you have a ventilation system, these and filters are worth checking at the same time as your heating. Check build-up on range-hood filters as well as extractors in bathrooms and laundries. Clean and service these as required.

SMOKE ALARMS

Smoke alarms and safety features in a house should be checked at least once a year. Testing is recommended to ensure they work before heating appliances are
used more frequently.

TREE CARE, GARDENS

Over the spring and summer there is a lot of plant growth. Check around your property and remove excess and unwanted branches and trees. In particular remove plants which are growing up, over or against your house. This helps manage moisture and potential damage from trees. If you are considering planting or replacing
a garden, autumn is also a good time as increased rain will help to establish plants.

PESTS

As months get colder rodents often look to head indoors for warmth, water and shelter. The best way to prevent pests entering your properties is to be proactive. Identify where pests might enter and then close, seal and fill gaps to block access. Minimise rubbish, long grass and compost piles where rodents can hide. If you have issues look at using baiting stations.

DRAINAGE

With higher rainfall expected over the coming months (although definitely not limited to this time of year), check exterior drainage. This might include cesspits which need to be cleaned out, or channels which storm water will flow in and through. If you have private water tanks, storm water or septic systems, these need regular inspection and maintenance, so check and service these if required.

DRAUGHTS AND LEAKS

Check for gaps in windows and doors. Joinery can move and seals do deteriorate and break, so check to make sure these are up to standard and repair where needed.

MOSS AND MOULD

Over time it is likely there will be build-up of moss or mould in some areas on or around a property, typically in places where there is moisture, lack of ventilation or light. Treat moss and mould where required, and if internally look at what the cause is and how this can be addressed to avoid recurrence.

The best way to minimise issues on a property is by being proactive in maintenance and addressing concerns when they first appear.

Small issues are much easier and more affordable to fix than big issues. If you are hands-on in your property management and maintenance, many of these areas can be sorted at minimal cost.

Autumn is a great time of year to take stock of where concerns or risk areas might be and address these before the colder and wetter months.

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