Latest landlord news………… by Madalena Penny
More Freezing Temperatures on the Way.
Landlords this week will be busy returning their insurance claims as the UK saw one of the worst bouts of freezing weather and snow since the 70’s.
The plummeting temperatures experienced in December has caused chaos to many households due to frozen and burst pipes, causing millions of pounds of damage to properties in total around the UK and weather experts have warned it’s not over yet, more freezing temperatures and snow is expected this month.
Numerous reports have flooded (pardon the pun) into insurers as landlords attempt to address the damage caused by burst pipes. In December 2009 and January 2010, £225 million was claimed for property damage due to the freezing weather, claims this year are expected to be higher.
Sim Sekhon of landlord services, “Legal 4 Landlords’ advised:
‘Very few tenants have contents insurance. Landlords will be under pressure to reimburse tenants for loss and damage of possessions and soft furnishings. It’s an important factor for landlords to assess the total cost of the overall damage including relocation of tenants and loss of rental income”
‘We also advise landlords to check their policies to determine their insurance coverage.’
As we get ready for the second onslaught of minus temperatures expected by the met office later this month, landlords are advised to alert tenants on guidelines to minimize damage caused by frozen and burst pipes. Legal 4 Landlords advises on guidelines that should be passed onto tenants.
- Locate the stopcock, which is usually either under the kitchen sink or the entrance of the service pipe, sometimes located in a downstairs bathroom or utility room.
- Turn off water supply.
- Gradually heat the frozen pipe using a hair dryer. Never use any fast heating tools such as a blowtorch as this will cause permanent damage to the pipe and will not work.
- After pipe is thawed, ensure central heating is on a low continuous setting to avoid any further pipes freezing.
- Again, turn off water supply, via the stopcock.
- Ensure water systems are fully drained by turning on the cold tap.
- Turn off central heating or any hot water systems such as immersion heaters then again drain any excess water by turning the hot water tap.
- Use buckets to catch dripping and leaking water from ceilings.
- Ensure electrical systems are disengaged until a qualified electrician can give you the all clear.
- If a build up of water has accumulated and ceilings are bulging, a small puncture in the ceiling will drain excess water minimizing risk to occupant(s) and extreme damage to furnishings; remember to have a number of buckets to hand and in place to catch the excess water.
As with all problems, prevention is far more conducive than cure, and in the landlord’s case far less stressful and costly. By insulating pipes and cold-water tanks, much damage can be averted along with any holes in the roof being plugged and repaired before the onset of winter.
To avoid further cost, it’s wise for landlords to leave a list of useful numbers for tradesmen with tenants and letting agents in case of emergencies when the landlord cannot be contacted as many landlords have preferential rates with contractors and remember to only re-decorate once the property is thoroughly dried out and aired.
For further information on landlord insurance cover for buildings and tenant contents call Legal 4 Landlords on 0800 8407133 or visit http://legal4landlords.com to speak to an advisor.