Take cover from the cold

Each year, NLA Property Insurance sees a spike in claims during the winter months.  Is it a coincidence?  We think not.  In fact, during the extreme bout of cold weather between December 2010 and January 2011 we saw an increase 48% in claims for flood-related damage.

The most common cause of damage was from frozen pipes bursting and causing flooding.  But most of these claims can be avoided if landlords take some simple steps to protect their property and reduce the risk of flooding or damage during the colder months.

•    Firstly, ensure all pipes are adequately insulated, especially those in the loft.  Outside taps should be lagged, or turned off internally if possible and drained down
•    Ensure the overflow pipes are correctly connected and not blocked, in case there is a leak
•    If your tenant is leaving the property for any period during the winter, instruct them to leave the heating on a low setting.  This will ensure water doesn’t freeze in the heating system
•    Leave doors between heated and unheated parts of the property open, to allow warm air to move through 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
•    It is important to check that gutters and downpipes are clear and free from cracks or splits, and the supporting brackets are secure as snow can build up, adding excessive weight.
•    Show your tenant where the stopcock or isolation valves are located in case they have to turn off the water to any part of the property.  Check that the valve moves easily without the need for any special tools
•    Give your tenant an emergency contact number in case there is a problem and arrange for emergency repairs to be undertaken as quickly as possible.

Flooding can cause many thousands of pounds in damage and even make a property uninhabitable while repairs are carried out.  For peace of mind, it is best to take out landlord insurance, such as NLA Property Insurance, to protect your investment.  It is tailored specifically for landlords, and will cover you for things that normal home insurance policies don’t.
For more information on NLA Property Insurance, download our free guide at www.landlords.org.uk/spotlight or visit www.landlords.org.uk/propertyinsurance.

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