The cold snap is well and truly upon us and as we start to approach the festive season it's more important than ever to double check that your property is up to scratch and keep your Tenants toasty and happy through the cold weather ahead.
We've pulled together our Top 5 Tips for making sure your property is ready as the temperatures drop, to ensure a stress-free Winter season.
Probably the most common issue that Landlords face over the winter season is burst pipes. It is estimated that a fifth of all insurance claims over the cold season are from Landlords that have suffered the effects of burst pipes in their properties. Don't be one of the stats! Once the thermometer plummets below zero the pipes can freeze, blocking pipes and expanding to burst them. Empty properties are most at risk, so if you manage your own property, particularly a Student one, and your Tenants are planning to go away over the break, now's the time remind them of their responsibilities and to leave their boiler on low when they go. If your Tenants do find a burst pipe, make sure they switch the water off immediately at the stopcock to prevent further damage.
This time of year, the combination of poor ventilation, heating on and soggy items left on radiators make it the perfect conditions for condensation, which then leads to mould. Mould can cause a lot of trouble for Landlords, particularly if it's not dealt with promptly. Not only is it ugly but it can also pose a health risk for Tenants so it's something to take seriously and act fast to remedy. Make sure you remove any mould to prevent it from building up and remind your tenants how to reduce damp and condensation.
This one might seem obvious but it is worth making sure that your property is warm enough. Nobody wants to live in a cold, draughty property. Plus, cold conditions can also encourage further issues such as mould, a broken boiler and frozen pipes, it is well worth making sure your property is as warm as it can be. Your property's heating can be improved by installing insulation, bleeding radiators and installing draught excluders around windows and doors. It's also advised that you call a Gas Safe registered engineered to check the boiler is in good working order, before temperatures really plummet.
Keeping the roof of your property in good condition is essential and never more so when we are facing a cold snap. Insurance policies will only cover properties that are reasonably maintained, so if your property suffers from wind and storm damage, they may refuse your claim if your property has not been reasonably maintained. It is generally considered highly unlikely that a storm below 52mph would damage a well-maintained property. It is worth bearing in mind that loose ridge tiles probably won't be covered on your insurance if damaged in winds less that those classed as at storm levels by The Beaufort Scale. Buildings insurance policies usually cover loss caused by storm damage, but they must be able to ascertain that the damage was actually caused by a storm (and sometimes poor conditions alone do not constitute a storm). One way they do this is by using The Beaufort Scale. This is an empirical measure that relates wind speed and it's what most insurance companies refer to when it comes to judging storm-related claims. Some insurers say that only winds above a certain point on this scale are storm-force winds that could damage a building.
Ensure that your insurance policy in order, up to date and provides all the cover you require. This is even more important if you live far away or will be unavailable over Christmas and New Year. You could also consider adding home emergency cover to your policy.
Alternatively, this is just the kind of thing we can help with if we manage your property for you. Why not speak to one of our Branch Managers on 0113 320 2100 to talk about how we can take the hassle out of property management for you?
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