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Winter Proofing Your Investment Property

Winter Proofing Your Investment Property
Winter in Canberra can be beautiful - the smell of fire places throughout the streets, exciting trips to the snow and the cosy feeling of curling up in front of the TV with a hot chocolate. According to Danielle Gavin, Head of Property Management at Peter Blackshaw Manuka, it’s also the time landlords should be preparing their investment properties to avoid unexpected maintenance costs. 
 “Winter can be one of the busiest periods for Property Manager’s as we begin to receive reports from tenants about issues in the property due to the colder weather. Around this time of year, we encourage our landlords to start thinking about what they can do to prevent unexpected repairs and costs.”
Below, Danielle shares the three biggest issues her team notices during winter and what Landlords can do to ensure their investment properties are protected.
1. Condensation
Condensation occurs when warm air collides with cold surfaces or when there is too much humidity in a property. This causes liquid droplets to form on windows and other cold surfaces throughout the home. Condensation can cause damage because it encourages mould to grow, which can quickly spread to walls, ceilings and furniture. It also presents a potential health risk for your tenant. 
According to Danielle, the best way to avoid condensation is by educating tenants.
“Avoiding condensation is very simple - we make sure to inform all tenants of what condensation is and what they can do to avoid it. Allowing a property to breathe is important - cross ventilation will help to stop condensation. Understandably, this isn’t ideal in a cold Canberra winter, but this is the easiest way to avoid condensation from occurring.”
Danielle also suggests leaving the bathroom fans on for a few minutes after showering and avoid using heat lights during winter. 
There are simple, cost-effective solutions that Danielle says landlords can provide to their tenants to help stop condensation. 
“Landlords can give tenants a security lock to use on their windows, allowing them to leave their window slightly open during the day. We also have owners who provide air humidifiers for properties prone to condensation.”
2. Guttering
There are plenty of deciduous trees around Canberra and while this makes for a beautiful setting, it can cause havoc to your property as the leaves start to fall. Gutters can become blocked with leaves, twigs and other debris. Going into a winter season with blocked gutters can cause roof damage and water leaks to the inside and outside of your property. 
While clearing and maintaining gutters is important, it’s not something Danielle and her team encourage tenants to do. “We always suggest to our landlord’s that they have the gutters regularly inspected by a professional. This ensures any issues are identified and fixed quickly, while also protecting the owner from any liability, should a tenant be injured.” 
Water damage to a property can be destructive and very costly. Regular maintenance and checks can save you a lot of money in repair costs. 
3. Heating 
Once winter sets in, tenants will begin to use appliances that have not been used in months. Heaters and hot water systems go in to overdrive as tenants try to heat their property. 
Rather than waiting for a hot water system to break down, Danielle suggest landlords have their systems checked regularly or at least once a year.  Regular maintenance could double or triple the lifespan of your hot water system.  
Danielle says regular maintenance not only goes a long way in avoiding expensive repairs for your investment, but also helps to build a positive relationship between the landlord, tenant and property manager. 
“The more action an owner takes, the more trust and confidence a tenant has in their landlord and property. They know the landlord is committed to taking care of the property and if something does happen, they have faith this will be repaired quickly.”
If you have any questions about your investment property, contact the team at Peter Blackshaw Real Estate. 

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