23 January 2012 | I-Am-The-Agent | 0 Comments
Last winter, the UK experienced one of its coldest periods ever with lashings of snow and ice along with temperatures well below zero for what seemed like months on end. But the Big Freeze isn’t just a big inconvenience – it can also end up a big financial burden for landlords who have rented a private property and not taken care to winter proof it for tenants.
The National Landlords Association’s property insurance service reported a 48% increase in claims during December 2010 and January 2011 for damages caused by weather-related flooding in rented properties with the majority of claims attributed to frozen pipes bursting. As well as the strain of having to deal with making a claim and arranging alternate accommodation for tenants, tackling soggy carpets, ruined ceilings and pipe repair work is no-one’s idea of fun. As Mother Nature again tightens her grip on Great Britain and much of the country shivers in sub-zero conditions, ensure your private rented property is kept in tip top shape by carrying out these simple preparations well in advance:
• To prevent the risks of burst pipes and flooding, landlords should ensure that all pipes are adequately insulated.
• It is also important to check that overflow pipes are correctly connected and not blocked, as blockages will result in major build ups causing burst pipes.
• If you’re advertising a property to rent online but haven’t yet found tenants, that doesn’t mean heating should be switched off. Keep the radiators and thermostat on a low setting so as not to run up a huge bill for an empty house but ensure enough warm air is circulating to keep the property dry and damp free.
• An Energy Performance Certificate is essential for rental properties and if yours doesn’t have a stellar rating, now is the time to carry out energy efficiency improvements. Better insulation means the property will stay warm and dry, keeping bills low even when the house isn’t occupied. A better energy rating will also make the house more attractive to tenants and means you can command a higher rental income.
• A few key ways to go about making a property energy efficient include: Loft insulation. Lofts should ideally be insulated to a minimum depth of 270mm to prevent heat loss through the ceiling. Cavity wall and floor insulation should be installed in order to keep heat inside.
• Lagging of hot water pipes and tanks can significantly reduce heat loss as well as preventing pipes from freezing.
• Finally, make your property draft-proof by ensuring all gaps between the skirting boards and floorboards are filled.
Taking on these key responsibilities will help ensure your tenants are happy in their new home. If you don’t have time to undertake this work yourself, I Am The Agent’s fixed fee property management can take care of all the details for a single monthly fee.