Snow has fallen across the UK, with many areas hit by freezing temperatures. In parts of the UK, wind chill has meant that the ‘real’ temperature has fallen to as low as -15 degrees.
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The bad weather has been caused by a movement of cold air from Siberia, in what some weather watchers are calling the ‘Beast from the East’.
South and South East worst affected
Areas of the South and South East of England are likely to be the worst affected, with widespread transport disruption and a snow emergency declared in Kent. Warnings are also in place for London.
But heavy snow is also forecast in Yorkshire, Teeside, Durham, and Newcastle, which the Met Office predicts will cause further disruption in these areas.
Meanwhile, temperatures are forecast to fall below -5 degrees across Wales.
‘Risk to life and property’
Much of the UK is now under yellow or amber warnings, indicating a “potential risk to life and property.”
It’s therefore imperative that businesses and landlords take precautions to protect against the weather.
How can landlords protect against the Beast from the East?
Landlords are on the frontline of the battle against the weather. It’s important that your property is protected against the snow and freezing temperatures, as they can wreak havoc if you don’t take steps to mitigate the damage.
First, you should make sure that your tenants have the proper information they need. Especially important is the pipes, which are a key point of failure when the mercury drops below zero.
They should also know things like the location of the stopcock, and comprehensive instructions for the heating.
You can find more information in our essential things to tell your tenants this winter.
But you should also make sure that you pay the property a visit in order to take any necessary precautions. Clear the gutters, check the insulation, and again, make sure the pipes are in good condition.
For more, read our seven top tips to keep your rental property safe in winter.
What about businesses?
If you’re a business owner, you also need to be prepared. According to the FSB, two thirds of the UK’s smallest businesses have been negatively impacted by bad weather in the last three years, and the average cost of those events was a staggering £7,000 – so it pays to get ahead of events.
The first step is to keep abreast of weather alerts, which you can do by following the Met Office on Twitter or keeping up with news on the BBC.
Next, you should build an action plan. Identify the risks that could impact your business, and put in place recovery plans for things like buildings and staff. If possible, try to make arrangements for employees to work remotely in the event that they can’t get to the premises.
You should also make sure that you liaise with customers and suppliers, having identified any potential weak links in your supply chain.
If the worst happens and you think your business will have to temporarily close, it’s important that you communicate this to customers and make other arrangements.
Finally, whether you’re a business owner or a landlord, it’s worth making sure that you have the correct insurance in place. A tailored insurance policy is good protection for your business or property, and could cover the cost in the event of a valid claim.
Has the ‘Beast from the East’ impacted your business or rental? Let us know below.