Winter is tough on all of us, but particularly on landlords. As the frosty weather kicks in, homeowners need to protect their properties against the elements, they don’t have hats and scarves like we do! There are a few simple ways you can avoid costly surprises.
Throughout the winter months the likelihood of having to make home insurance claims is increased. Between March 2013 and February 2014 three times more claims were made in winter than in spring and twice as many as in summer.
Analyses of home insurance show that 31% of claims were due to damage caused by storms and severe weather, and 10% were a result of burst pipes (locating a water leak can be tricky and expensive!)
Last year’s harsh winter took its toll on many households, however there are certainly small measures that can prevent damage and winter-proof your home.
- Clear gutters of leaves and debris. If a blocked drain freezes it can break and fall
- Make sure you know where your water shut off valve is. (many people don’t know where to find this in their home, and trust me, you don’t want to wait until a catastrophe strikes to go hunting for it!)
- Check your roof tiles and chimney stack for loose tiles. Keeping out the rain is crucial!
- Have your heating and boiler checked by a professional
- Insulate pipes and tanks. Frozen pipes can cause devastation if they burst. Keep heating on a low temperature even if the house is unoccupied. There is often an additional excess on claims caused by water leakage.
- Keep a supply of salt and grit in case of snow
The best protection is a well-informed tenant. Many won’t know how to deal with the cold (don’t assume they do!) It is part of a landlord’s responsibility to supply them with this knowledge.