Despite a rather damp start, ‘Flaming June’ finally lived up to its reputation. But while the hot weather is great for summer barbeques and days out, it does bring certain risks for rental properties.
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That’s why we’ve put together a list of the main things landlords need to watch out for as temperatures soar.
1. Check your plumbing
When we think of climate causing damage to plumbing, we usually think of cold weather.
However, as the earth dries out and contracts, external pipes can become damaged, and very hot weather can cause both metal and plastic pipes to warp.
Let your tenants know that they should keep the grounds around the property watered, if they have access to them, and keep an eye on any large trees nearby, as their roots can make the problem worse.
2. Minimise the risk of subsidence
While fixing broken plumbing can be arduous and expensive, subsidence is an even worse problem.
Buildings are particularly at risk of subsidence in summer for the same reasons pipes are more likely to break - shrinking soil. Again, keeping the ground as moist as you can, and making sure you don’t have any large trees nearby, will help lessen the risk.
Properties built after 1976 are less likely to suffer subsidence, as new regulations brought in that year mean later properties have sturdier foundations. However, they’re not completely risk free. If you want to know more, check out our guide to subsidence for landlords.
3. Remind tenants to close windows
Hot weather can be lovely when you’re outside, but can get rather overwhelming once you’re back at home. Your tenants will almost certainly want to throw the windows wide open on hot days like the ones we’ve had recently but, unfortunately, thieves are all too aware of this.
A lot of opportunistic thefts take place in summer when people leave their windows and doors open. Sending your tenants a polite reminder to be vigilant and make sure to keep windows and doors closed when they’re out and overnight can help keep things secure.
4. Secure any outbuildings
And if all windows and doors are shut and locked, thieves still aren’t deterred. Most outbuilding thefts take place in summer, so if you have a shed, summer house or garage on your property where you or your tenants store items, it’s best to check your security.
It’s up to you how much security you want to put in place, whether it’s just a padlock, warning signs, or as much as CCTV. Whatever you decide to implement, make sure you inform your tenants and get their consent to visit the property when it’s time for installation.
5. Make sure your legionella testing is up to date
Life flourishes during summer and, unfortunately, that includes bacteria.
As a landlord, you’re legally required to make sure your water is free from legionella, a type of bacterium that causes Legionnaire’s disease. Legionella is much more abundant during summer, so if you’ve not carried out a water inspection recently, now is the time to do it.
If you’re new to legionella testing, or want to refresh your memory, read our article on how to do a legionella risk assessment.
6. Install surge protectors
You might normally think of summer weather as bright and sunny (or warmer but rainy for most of the UK), but with hot weather comes increased risk of thunderstorms.
Though it’s unlikely (but not impossible) your property itself will be struck by lightning, power outages and surges caused by nearby storms can damage electrical appliances - both yours and your tenants’.
Making sure you have adequate surge protection installed in your property can save you costs later down the line. Not only might you have to replace your white goods, but a broken fridge or freezer in this weather could cause water damage to the floor below if not moved in time.
And one last thing…
As much as you try to prepare for summer hazards, unfortunately things can still go wrong. And when they do it can be costly.
Now’s a good time to review your landlord insurance policy and make sure it covers everything you need it to. Check your policy wording for exclusions and excesses so you’re not met with a surprise if you need to make a claim.