Kitchen and Laundry Rooms.
Kitchen and utilities areas are the main places where fire, gas leaks and escape of water can take place. You should ensure that when gas is used in a property the gas cooker works properly. It is a legal requirement for landlords to provide fire blankets or a fire protection kit appropriate for kitchens/utilities areas in certain households. It is highly recommended for all households to invest in fire protection aid.
Regular checks for pluming and drainage from basins should be encourage with the tenants. Washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers should be services on a regular basis to avoid flooding including PAT tests.
These should always be checked for leaks and water seepage from the bathroom fixtures, such as shower heads, cracked shower trays, toilets, cisterns and wash basins. You will often find in bathrooms that tiles can give a sign if there is too much moisture and the bathroom is not being probably ventilated. Look out for tiles lifting or mould and mildew around the edges of the tiles.
Pipes running from the bath tub and the shower tray are also something you can be wary of. These should always be checked especially the corners where it might not be water tight.
Toilet bowls and tanks are likely to have a slow ongoing leak, which if unattended to can cause serious damage. This often results in situations such as damaged floors and ceilings as well as high water bills with loss of metered water.
Central Heating, Radiators and Boilers.
If operational central heating systems are in place, it should be set for a minimum control of 13 degrees. This should be adequate protections against frozen pipes and prevent unnecessary maintenance. If the property us unoccupied, it is often a stipulation of an insurance policy to drain down the heating system to prevent damage in this way. It is advisable to check with your insurance policy or contact us to discuss it.
You might want to consider investing in an insulating jacket for any water cylinders. Alternatively, fitting foil-faced expanding polystyrene lining being any radiators in your property. This will help minimums the loss of heat and will be very cost effective.
You should ask your tenants to check around radiators for any signs of leaks. If there is evidence of rust, dampness or condensation these are signs showing that there is a problem with the system.
Electric and Gas.
It is a legal requirement if you rent your property that gas appliances are inspected at least one a year by a qualified gas engineer. Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill, and you should have at least one CO2 monitor in the home. Monitors can be purchased at almost all home improvement and hardware store throughout the UK. Make sure the property is well ventilated and there is no obstacles near the ventilation area. Make sure chimneys and flues are inspected and swept regularly.
Electrical appliances are now required by law to be checked and tested on a regular basis. This becomes law from the 1st July 2020.
Pipes and Drains Maintenance.
Water pipes and tanks in the roof area should be properly insulated. Lagging is advisable for all your cold and hot pipes feeding the house, this both protects from freezing and maintains warmth. Be sure to check pipes for rust or signs of wear and tear when inspecting the plumbing and heating systems.
Our sister company Harringtons Lettings has written an article explaining maintenance responsibilities please click here to read.
Outbuildings, Gardens and Trees.
Any outbuildings with water, electric or gas supply will require the same care and condition as the main property.
Make sure all outbuildings and garages are secure and fire resistant where possible.
Trees should be well maintained, cut back and pruned on a yearly basis. You should check with your tenants that this is done.
Regular pruning or pollarding of tress or large shrubs also helps control root systems that can run the risk if damaging any underground pipes and drains under your property.
We confirm some useful tips that can prevent dangers such as security.
Make sure the property has appropriate security locks in place. Insure that the permitted occupants are aware that the security locks are to be used at all time, especially when the occupants have left the house.
Early Signed of Damage.
Make sure there are no lose roof tiles, stone, masonry, paving, steps, railings, doors/door handles, windows fixtures and fitting. If you notice any cracks in the building you should investigate these. Check the property for any damp patches, especially those that appear on ceilings, walls and floors. These will give you a strong sign there is a leaking pipe, rising damp or damaged fixtures or fittings.
Tenants and Permitted Occupiers.
You should make sure that they are active in reporting any areas that may have a possible problem. If you are entrusting your property to someone else, it is in your best interest as well as theirs, to inform you when something needs fixing or something is wrong.
Make sure you inspect your property on a regular basis. It you have a HMO you will find this is often a condition of your licence. Make sure that all inspections records are kept safely and make sure that you have catalogued any dilapidations. This should be noted before moving any persons in or out of your property. Make sure that you comply within the regulations relating to gas, electricity and fire checks and keep copies of any utility inspections.
Things to Remember.
It is so important that you understand the contents of you policy. You are strongly recommended to read through the insurance policy to check the cover meets you expectations and requirements.
Most insurance policies advise that the property is inspected internally and externally at least every 6 months. This will help keep an eye on the property and spot any damages as soon as possible.
By keeping your property well maintained, you are reducing the risk of long term damage. Make sure that your tenants or occupiers of the property know where the water mains are in the even there is an escape of water. Failure to follow maintenance on your property could invalidate any potential claims.
It is your responsibility to ensure that all steps are taken to prevent loss, damage or accident and maintain the property in a good state of repair. Please note that your insurance policy is not a maintenance contract. It does not cover the cost of maintenance, routine decoration or wear and tear.
The above is all a guide for your own benefit but it is not an authority or interpretation of the law and you should always check. Landlords are reminded that they must comply with the Housing Act 2004 and contact their local council if they need advice.
Please click here to read Part 1 if you haven’t already.