Are Your Rental Properties Are Ready For Winter Weather Extremes?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Landlords Warned That 2014/15 Winter Weather Could Be The Coldest On Record

Landlords Warned That 2014/15 Winter Weather Could Be The Coldest On Record

Landlords Warned That 2014/15 Winter Weather Could Be The Coldest On Record

Private rental sector landlords are being urged to make sure that they have adequate landlord buildings insurance in place ahead of the harsh winter conditions regularly experienced by the majority of UK regions.

The UK Meteorological Office has already warned that widespread frost and fog could be expected across the whole of the UK before the end of the week, and the Met Office have also forecast snow to hit parts of Scotland.

A Met Office spokesperson said: “The beginning of December will see a good deal of cloud, thick enough for some light rain and drizzle across large parts of the country, and a weather front pushing its way down from Western Scotland could lead to frost and fog in the mornings with snow forecast to hit parts of Scotland in the early part of the week”.

The cold weather that is set to hit the UK is not expected to be as bad as the several feet of snow and sub-zero temperatures that hit the Eastern United States, a couple of weeks ago, but more severe winter weather is expected here in the UK over the coming weeks due to North/South fluctuations in the jet stream that warms the UK’s shores.

The recent mild weather during Autumn could mean that UK private rented sector (PRS) landlords are woefully unprepared for any harsh winter weather conditions, especially after last year’s extremely mild winter weather.

Frozen Rental Properties Could Be On Way!

Frozen Rental Properties Could Be On Way!

In order to keep tenants rented homes warm and dry during the winter months, landlords need to ensure that boilers and central heating systems in rental properties are regularly serviced, as required by law, as regular servicing prevents boilers from breaking down when they are most needed and makes sure that the boiler is safe to use by tenants and is running at its most efficient, as well as identifying any minor faults which could lead to serious problems later on.

If rental properties are currently empty and awaiting new occupants, it could be useful for landlords to leave the heating on a low setting to help prevent frozen pipes in rental properties.

This may be seen as a money wasting exercise by landlords, as heating an empty property appears pointless, but if a tenant applicant walks in to an empty property that isn’t freezing, they are more likely to remember that the property was warm and inviting over any other rental property they may have viewed that was cold.

Winter weather in the UK can bring strong winds, heavy rain, snow and freezing temperatures, that will eventually take their toll on all properties roofs, causing financial headaches for landlords without proper landlord buildings insurance.

All un-insulated properties lose heat in cold weather, regardless of whether they are newly built or period properties and there are plenty of companies offering insulation services for free on rental properties, where tenants with low incomes or claiming benefits qualify, and there are government grants that could be used towards the cost of insulating properties, worth checking with your local authority.

Rental property walls can be externally insulated or fitted with cavity wall insulation and loft spaces should have a minimum of at least 270mm of insulation material fitted. If there is an issue with the roof of your rental property, the property will become cold, damp and expensive for tenants to try to keep warm and the roof could even become structurally unsound if repairs are not addressed immediately.

There are a number of warm front grants available under the Government’s Green Deal for tenants that can be utilised by landlords who accept tenants claiming benefits that provide cavity wall and loft insulation as well as free central heating in rented properties that don’t have it, subject to meeting satisfactory criteria.

Landlords should stand over the road from their rental properties and survey the tiles and check that fascias and soffits are still in a good, sound condition. It can be useful to take photographs and examine them at maximum magnification, if issues are identified, such as missing or broken tiles, get a builder or roofer to conduct repairs immediately.

It is also essential for landlords to make sure that the guttering and drains of a rental property are also well maintained and free draining to prevent the property suffering damp, so it is wise to have them cleaned periodically.

Water pipes can be prevented from freezing, cracking and bursting in rental properties by taking action now!

All pipe-work should be insulated or lagged before the worst of the cold winter weather descends on the UK. Leaking taps should be repaired and any outside taps should be insulated and hosepipes disconnected to prevent damage.

Tenants should also be instructed to keep the heating on low during the coldest winter weather to help minimise the risk of frozen pipes. Landlords should also ensure that tenants know where the water stop tap is, so that they can isolate the rental properties water supply and prevent further damage should the worst happen.

Condensation In Rented Property Can Be AvoidedDouble glazing the windows in rental properties increases the overall security of the rental property reduces condensation and provides additional sound proofing as well as keeping the property warm and could save tenants a great deal of money on energy bills and reduce annual carbon emissions, according to the Energy Saving Trust (EST), saving tenants up to £135 per year and up to 720g CO2 emissions. There are still a number of companies offering double glazing for rental properties through the Green Deal.

During the coldest winter months, damp can gain a foothold in properties. To prevent this from happening in rental properties, landlords should ensure that their rental properties have an adequate damp proofing course installed.

Condensation is the biggest problem faced by landlords and tenants often confuse condensation with damp without realising that it is their lifestyle that is doing the damage.

Instruct tenants not to use radiators to dry clothes on and ensure that tumble dryers are vented outside the property rather than allowing moist air to remain inside the rental property.

Draught proofing is probably the simplest job that landlords can do for their tenants, using foam or rubber sealant strips around doors and windows will help stop the cold penetrating the rental property, draught excluders at the base of external doors and draught excluding brushes can be fitted to the inside of letterboxes can also help keep the heat inside the property.

Tenant Liability insurance can save landlords a small fortune should the tenant do anything that can affect the natural state of the rental property. All properties need to breathe and are designed to allow air to circulate, air vents allow this to happen, many tenants mistakenly block ventilation holes due to draughts, however they will be complaining about damp within a short timescale because of this, costing landlords without Tenant Liability insurance money.

DO NOT allow tenants to block up air vents!

Even if landlords take action on the items identified above, it may not be enough to prevent damage due to winter weather extremes.

Landlords should make sure that they have the correct type of landlord buildings insurance that will cover the cost of expensive repairs, should the worst happen.


This was written by Mike Clarke. Posted on at 11:15 am. Filed under Insurance. Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.