Don't let the cold bite your buy-to-let investment
- 7th December 2011
- Property Tips
Frost damage is excluded from most buildings insurance, so it pays to take precautions before the colder weather arrives.
With parts of the UK already suffering from snowfall and freezing conditions, landlords might want to check whether tenants will take any steps to prevent damage from cold weather during the festive season. If not, it might be necessary for the landlord to take precautionary measures.
Many young professional and student tenants return to their family home for the Christmas break, often turning off the heating when they leave to save costs. If there is a cold snap while they are away, expensive damage to the property can occur, for example, if pipes freeze up.
Simple steps to avoid winter damage in rental properties include:
- Insulating external pipes at risk of freezing.
- Checking whether tenants will be vacating the property during the holidays and, if so, requesting that they set a timer on the heating so that it never gets too cold.
- Clearing gutters and paths of debris and checking for leaks in gutters so that water drains away properly before it can freeze.
- Checking that the roof is fully watertight.
- Insulating the loft.
Stephen Ludlow, Chairman of ludlowthompson, comments: “Many London buy-to-let properties are flats in larger buildings and they are unlikely to suffer significant frost damage. Older Victorian properties are most at risk of damage from cold weather.
“Frost damage is excluded from most buildings insurance so it’s important to reduce the risk of costly damage. Since we have had relatively mild, dry weather this autumn some landlords might not yet have given much thought to such maintenance issues.
“While the cost of preparing for a cold snap might seem expensive, it can prevent the need for more expensive work repairing any damage, particularly at emergency Christmas and New Year call-out rates. A lot of the costs are also tax deductible for buy-to-let properties.”
Landlords should remind tenants not to switch the heating off if they are going away over the Christmas period.
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