Tell Tenants How to Deal with Emergencies, Urges NLA

Tell Tenants How to Deal with Emergencies, Urges NLA

17:26 PM, 16th November 2011, About 12 years ago 2

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Tenants need to know about how to cope in an emergency to protect rental properties from risk of damage in the cold weather, urges the National Landlords Association.

Many rental properties were damaged by flooding after burst pipes because tenants did not know how to switch off the water supply, claims the NLA.

Thousands of homes were left drenched and uninhabitable after last year’s cold spell – insurers paid out £1 billion in compensation for claims that added up to an average £25,000.

Landlords were hit twice – not only were the homes out of action for weeks for repairs, but they were not earning rents for the time they were empty.

The NLA is pleading with landlords to put together a property guide for when tenants move in that explains how to shut off utilities and drain down boilers and heating systems.

NLA chairman David Salusbury said: “It’s important that tenants know how the heating system works in their property. Each winter, many rented properties are damaged by burst pipes because tenants don’t know how to shut off the heating system.”
Landlord insurers have also suggested ways for property investors to protect their homes in the winter:

  • Drain down water and heating systems if the property is not lived in for more than a week or two
  • Lag pipes and tanks in the loft
  • Leave heating on at 13C so pipes and radiators do not freeze
  • Leave loft doors open to let warm air circulate around pipes and tanks in the roof space

Insurers are also warning that claims may be rejected for rental properties that are left unoccupied.

Most landlord policies have a clause that stops home insurance cover if a property is left empty for 30 days or more.

Specialist brokers can offer temporary insurance for unoccupied properties.

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Mary Latham

20:00 PM, 16th November 2011, About 12 years ago

At the Landlords Show at the NEC today a landlord told me a story about a tenant who reported a leak. The tenant told the landlord that the leak had been going on for a few days so the landlord though "it must be a small drip" but went to check it out. OMG! He found the property flooded with water and water was gushing from the "leak". We cannot always rely on tenants to report problems to us. In my experience there those tenants who call for every small thing no matter what time of day or night it is and then their are those tenants who leave small problems until they become big, and expensive problems, before they report it to the landlord. The law says that a defect is relevant whether a tenant has reported it or not and a term in an AST that puts th onus on the tenant to report problems is not considered a fair term. The message is clear - keep an eye on your investments and don't rely on tenants to "care" or to report defects to you.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

21:34 PM, 16th November 2011, About 12 years ago

Good point Mary, we telephone all tenants at least every 6 months to ask them if they have got any problems and whether they would like us to do a free maintenance check so that we can put anything right when it needs fixing. We remind them at the time of the call and at any meetings that we are only a phone call away if they have any issues, no matter how big or small. I'd rather deal with the occasional bit of moaning and the hassle of a few false call outs than a major problem any day.

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