When the ice-cold grip of winter tightens around the United Kingdom, people begin to worry about a number of things. According to British Gas, 49% of homeowners in the UK are concerned about their home withstanding the freezing temperatures, heavy rain, and strong winds that accompany the winter months. For private landlords, many of these worries are shared with homeowners, if not amplified by the fact that hey may oversee numerous properties.
According to Landlord Expert, private landlords will control nearly £1 trillion in property value across the UK by the middle of 2015. That figure represents an increase from £930.7 billion in late 2014, and just £262.1 billion in 2001. With so much of the nation's property in the hands of private landlords, what are some useful wintertime survival tips for these individuals?
External Building Inspections
The condition of exterior walls, windows, doors, and the roof can deteriorate quickly during the winter months. Drastic drops in temperature, freezing rain, and heavy snow can weaken the external structure of the home, posing a threat to the renters living in the unit and exposing landlords to insurance claims and potential financial loss.
Test Heating Systems
When the temperature dips, your renters need to know that the boiler will work to keep them warm both day and night. Whether you have renters currently in a unit during the winter months, or it's empty, the boiler should be serviced, pipes and radiators checked for leaks, and bled for airlocks.
Look into Landlord Insurance
Certain online services now help private landlords find affordable landlord insurance to protect their financial investments in the event of severe problems. Landlord insurance offers protection in four main risk areas:
- Building cover: financial assistance to repair damage resulting from fire or flood, for example.
- Contents: cover the cost of replacing items lost, stolen, or damaged.
- Rent guarantee: if tenants fail to pay rent or loss of rent occurs as a result of empty or damaged units, you can receive compensation.
- Legal expenses: in the event of legal action involving you and your properties, insurance could cover the costs involved.
There are legal requirements regarding property insulation you should be aware of. There are also other considerations beyond these minimum requirements that also command attention. Poor insulation can raise utility costs when heating or cooling escapes the building. Check insulation in the loft to ensure it meets or exceeds any such standards. Consider adding or increasing cavity wall insulation, glazing windows, and insulating pipes to prevent issues.
Be Aware of Flood Risks
You should keep in mind the threat of water damage as a result of burst pipes during the winter, as well as potential flooding in the early spring as winter snow melts and swells local rivers. If you need help assessing risks and planning a recovery process, visit Floodrisk.co.uk. When it comes to protecting the property during the winter, ensure that pipes are properly insulated and shut-off valves are in use on various pipes within the home.
Don't Forget Outside Paving
Cold weather poses various threats to paving surrounding your property. The most obvious issue involves sidewalks and ice. Slippery walkways can cause injury to renters and visitors alike. Also, as temperatures rise and fall with rain and snow battering the pavement, water can seep into cracks. As that water freezes and thaws, it can crack the pavement and cause other tripping hazards.