Cold weather warning for landlords and tenants

As the floods subside, forecasters are warning that the first cold spell is due to sweep across the UK kicking off a month of wintery conditions. With ‘Escape of Water’ being the most common property insurance claim, largely as a result of burst or frozen pipes, Total Landlord Insurance is issuing a stark reminder to landlords to ensure their properties are suitably prepared for the winter ahead.

Over the last two years, 32% of all Total Landlord Insurance claims have been as a result of escape of water, with 78% of those being due to burst pipes and the majority of these claims coming in December, January and February. With most regions expected to see temperatures plummet well below freezing and with a strong chance of snow, Eddie Hooker, CEO of Total Landlord Insurance comments “as a homeowner we tend to be aware of the necessary steps required when the weather turns cold. However, with a rental property it can often be a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. As we head towards Christmas landlords should be mindful that tenants may well be away from the property for extended periods of time and without proper precautionary measures, properties can be at risk of water damage.”

A burst pipe is an emergency; it can cause serious damage to the structure of your home, electrical wiring and your possessions with the cost of repair averaging £3000 but able to reach anything as high as £45,000. Here is advice for landlords and tips for their tenants.

Advice for Landlords

• Ensure all pipes and tanks in the loft are adequately insulated. It’s worth checking that they have not been moved or dislodged by unwitting tenants

• Are all overflow pipes correctly connected and not blocked?

• Are gutters and downpipes clean and free from cracks or splits? It’s also worth checking that all supporting brackets are secure and in good condition – snow and ice can build up, adding excessive weight

• Are drain gratings clear of leaves and debris?

• Is any external pipework lagged, including outside taps which should either be turned off internally if possible and drained down, or fitted with an insulated jacket

Are there any cracked or missing roof tiles – it’s worth getting these replaced now

Advice to give your Tenants

• Are your tenants planning to be away over the weekend? If so, ensure that they leave the heating on low.

• Whether at home or not, doors between heated and unheated parts of the property should be left open to allow warm air to move around the property. In really cold spells this could include leaving the loft hatch open to allow warm air to circulate reducing the risk of frozen pipes in the loft.

• Do they know where the stopcock or isolation valves are located in case they have to turn off the water to any part of the property? Remember pipes can be fed from a tank as well as directly from the mains. They should check now that the valve moves easily without the need for any special tools.

• Can your tenant contact you in an emergency? If not, you might consider providing them with the number of a reputable contractor who could respond quickly and undertake emergency repairs to prevent further damage.

Article courtesy of LandlordZone

So what can RentPro do to help?

The advantage of RentPro being web-based means you do not need to be in your office to respond to any emergency calls over the holidays.  Simply log in to your account, raise a request a trouble ticket to the relevant supplier and they will be instantly informed either via text or email which ever preference has been set.  Speeding up the process and response time for all.  No need to take notes and hope that you will remember to update them when you get back to work after the holidays!

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