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Landlord group offers cold weather advice to property owners

According to Total Landlord Insurance, an approved member of The Landlord Syndicate, landlord claims as a result of burst pipes and flooding rise by an average of 100% in winter months versus summer.

‘During the cold snap just over a year ago, escape of water claims rose by a staggering 900%. Whilst the weather cannot be prevented, precautionary measures can be taken by landlords and tenants to minimise the risk and, should the worst happen, limit the resultant damage,’ said Eddie Hooker, chief executive of Total Landlord Insurance.

The Landlord Syndicate advises landlords to arrange a convenient time with tenants to visit their properties to make checks both internally and externally.

‘It is worth checking that all pipes and tanks in the loft are adequately insulated and that overflow pipes are connected and not blocked, especially if you have taken on new tenants in the last year that may have used the loft space and unwittingly moved or dislodged something,’ explained Hooker.

Externally, pipe work should be lagged, including outside taps which should either be turned off internally if possible and drained down, or fitted with an insulated jacket. ‘Gutters and downpipes should be clean, free from cracks and have supporting brackets that are secure as snow and ice can add excessive weight resulting in damage. This is also the time to ensure drain gratings are clear of leaves and debris and that there are no cracked or missing roof tiles,’ added Hooker.

On visiting the property, landlords should also advise tenants to leave the heating on low if they are planning to be away over the next month, and whether at home or not, doors between heated and unheated parts of the property should be left open to allow warm air to move around the property.

‘In really cold spells this could include leaving the loft hatch open to allow warm air to circulate reducing the risk of frozen pipes in the loft. Most importantly, we advise landlords to ensure tenants know where the stopcock or isolation valves are located in case they have to turn off the water to any part of the property and check now that the valve moves easily without the need for any special tools,’ he continued.

Finally, The Landlord Syndicate would recommend that landlords provide tenants with the number of their preferred and reputable contractor in case the tenant was unable to contact the landlord in an emergency. This will ensure the issue is responded to and repairs undertaken quickly to prevent further damage.