Winter voids risk damage to properties, warn inventory clerks

The risk of damage to rental properties heightens in winter – especially if homes are empty, according to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks.

The association is urging landlords or agents acting on their behalf to take extra care as the temperatures fall.

The association explains that with no one living in a property for an extended period of time, it will not be ventilated properly which could lead to damp, mould and related problems. Condensation is the predominant cause of damp and when windows are left unopened for an extended period it becomes more frequent and the chances of mould developing increases.

The AIIC added that the longer a property remains unoccupied and unchecked, the higher the chances are of drain blockages, pipe problems and clogged gutters, typically because of fallen leaves. Pipes should also be checked for cracks and leaks as these can escalate into more serious problems, especially if the water freezes.

The AIIC is therefore urging landlords – especially those with empty properties – to make regular and thorough checks this winter.

Paragon Mortgages recently reported that the average void period dropped to under 2.6 weeks per year but the AIIC warns that even this relatively short period is long enough for winter-related property problems to arise.

“A detailed inventory carried out by an independent inventory clerk also allows a landlord to identify what needs repairing between contracts. This can be vital in ensuring the long-term condition of the rental property as well as helping to get it up to scratch for new tenants,” said Patricia Barber, chair of the AIIC.

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