Winter and the New Year are typically stressful periods for property managers (either private or commercial) and landlords: holiday-minded tenants are hard to reach, everyone is experiencing financial constraints and tradesmen are difficult to locate.
Summer doesn't have the same challenges involved, which makes it the ideal time to form a strategy for preparing and maintaining property in readiness for winter.
With this in mind, here are 9 tips for summer property maintenance:
1. Summer holidays? Be available and prepared
Tenants need to be able to get in touch with landlords and property managers at all times of year. Your relationship needs to be a solid one, based on timely communication, in order to future-proof against problems of a technical, financial, social or legal nature. Inform any tenants of your summer holiday plans as required, and provide them with your preferred contact details, an email address or mobile number typically being the most convenient for both parties. Request that tenants similarly provide you with travel plans and contact details in case of emergency.
If you travel, ensure you have online access and the following information to hand, whether it’s on your laptop, flash drive or in a storage cloud:
• Contact details for tenants
• Tenancy agreements
• Rent ledgers
• 14 day notices
2. Tenants hand in their notice? Ensure you’re marketing-ready while abroad
If tenants give notice during the holiday season, ensure you can proactively market your property even whilst on vacation yourself in order to avoid a potential fallow period between tenancies. Have photos, advertisements and marketing plans to hand, or easily accessible online if required.
3. Summer tradesmen on tap
In summer either you or your regular tradesmen may be away from the vicinity if a property emergency arises. Prepare for a worst-case scenario by confirming the potential availability of your regular plumber, locksmith, roofer and electrician. Build up your reference list of tradesmen who will be available in case you need additional trade support.
Call in a tradesman to check and clean all drains and gutters; any cracks should be repaired to prevent against blockages and breakages.
5. House exteriors
Summer is the perfect time for roof care. Replace any loose or broken shingles. Check the exterior property siding for cracks or fissures and ensure they are mended. During warmer weather, ensure any pebbles or moss which may have collected during the winter months have been cleared away.
6. Summer lawn care
If you are responsible for lawn upkeep for the property, you’ll be aware that spring and autumn are the perfect times to fertilise the lawn to prepare it for extremes of sun and frost. The arid heat of summer can result in browning, but if you have maintained solid lawn upkeep throughout the year the grass is only dried, not dead. While you can ensure the lawn is fertilised and regularly watered in dry summer weather, consider that this may result in increased growth and spread of weeds like crabgrass, and also potential heat damage and disease resulting from the humidity of moist blades. Commercial and residential property maintenance companies tend to practice regular and minimal cutting of grass in order to avoid placing stress on the lawn by cutting it too short.
7. General garden care
If you are responsible for outdoor furniture, outdoor cooking areas and equipment or any outdoor play equipment, inspect them for health and safety standards and repair or replace them as required.
8. Filter It Out
If your property has an air conditioning unit installed, you will need to ensure the filters are changed at least twice a year, and ideally every month – a clean air filtration system will be particularly appreciated by tenants in summer. Change the filter yourself or have a professional air conditioning contract inspect and maintain the system.
9. Stormy Weather
While a sunny summer is the ideal scenario, it is worth considering that lightning storms may also be factored into the weather. Thunderstorms may increase in autumn and spring, so summer is an opportune time to ensure all the electrical appliances in your property are protected from power surges and lightning. Consider having a lightning protection system installed on your property if one is not currently in place.