In typical British style, the Met Office this week issued severe wet weather warnings for parts of the UK. That’s right, in August.
Wet weather and flooding are major concerns for landlords. While this week’s warnings primarily affect those with properties in Scotland and on the East Coast of England, landlords across the country are likely to battle severe wet weather at some point in the imminent future. It is vital that you are properly prepared if you are to avoid damage to your property.
1. Fix broken pipes
Broken pipes are amongst the most common causes of flooding, particularly in wet weather. Heavy rain can cause pipes to burst or gutters to overflow – but when this is combined with already weakened pipes it can be a recipe for disaster.
By taking half an hour to empty gutters and fix pipes, you can help to prevent flooding – and avoid further damage. Remember that joins between pipes are the areas most prone to failure, so make sure these are secure.
2. Look at leaks
Leaks can be disastrous in heavy rain, so you should make sure that these are addressed now. The old saying that one should “fix the roof while the sun is shining” really is true.
It is often possible to fix leaks yourself. There is a range of materials available to help you do so, including flashing cement which is often used to fix small breaches. Remember, though, that this can be a dangerous job and should generally be carried out by a qualified professional.
3. Are you at risk of flooding?
Flooding remains a major problem in certain parts of the UK. If you are in an area that is at risk of flooding, you need to take extra precautions.
The Environment Agency publishes a range of guidance for people who own properties in flood-prone areas. You should consider, amongst other things, fitting water-resistant skirting board, and having flood boards made that you can install over doors and windows when the necessity arises.
4. Fix windows
Window fittings are another area that you should safeguard. Make sure that all joins are watertight, and that mechanisms work properly.
You might also consider fitting insulating plastic around windows in order to prevent damp. This can be particularly useful after an extended period of heavy rain.
5. Consider electrics
Many properties have fuse boxes or other appliances outside. While these are always covered, these coverings can degrade.
Make sure that any such appliances are safe from water damage. Water and electricity is, obviously, a bad combination – so take a few minutes to protect them now, and avoid a potentially expensive problem later.
6. DIY isn’t always best
There is a common instinct amongst many buy-to-let property owners that DIY is always the way forward. Indeed, this seems to make sense; why pay someone else to do work you can complete yourself?
But, in reality, DIY is not always best. Indeed, a recent survey suggested that many landlords are actually damaging their properties by carrying out slipshod ‘improvements’ and maintenance.
Flood and wet weather protection is something you really want to get right. Make sure that you at least consider finding a professional to help you do the work.
7. Get insured
Specialist insurance is vital for any landlord – and yet many do not have the cover they need. You should make sure that you are properly protected against the potentially disastrous costs of water and flood damage.
Wet weather and flooding should be high on the list of concerns for UK landlords. Take action early, and you can help to avoid lasting and potentially expensive damage to your property.