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Protecting your investment throughout winter

The recent floods across parts of the Midlands and Yorkshire remind just us how brutal the UK weather can be over the winter months.

Our thoughts are with the many communities impacted by the floods. It is always astonishing to see just how much damage flood water can do to a property. In some instances, residents need to move out of their home for months- or even years- whilst the property dries out and repairs are undertaken.

So, as the coldest months of the year edge ever closer, as a landlord you need to do everything you can to ensure your property is safe; and crucially that your tenant knows what to in the unfortunate event that an extreme weather event impacts their home.

Preventative Actions

As explained in a recent issue of Property Industry Essentials, early autumn is the perfect time to clear gutters and drains of leaves, to ensure that if we do experience heavy rainfall then excess water can pass through without incident.

Other actions you should take include securing fences so that they can cope with strong winds; and we’d also recommend checking the central heating is fully functional.

In Case of Emergency

In the event of an extreme weather event, then your tenant must follow all official advice. 

Should the area be in area at risk of flooding then the local council should provide sandbags which the tenant can use to protect the interior of the property from rainwater.

However, in all cases, the tenant should follow the advice of the emergency services, and if that means evacuating the property then this is what they must do.

Protecting your investment

If the insurance you have on your property is a standard buildings and contents cover aimed at protecting homeowners, then there is a risk that you may not be covered in the event of a flood – or other extreme weather event. This is because standard insurance may only cover the homeowner and their immediate family; rather than tenants.  

Whilst as a landlord you don’t have obligation to provide alternative accommodation to your tenant, you do have to make repairs to ensure the property is habitable. If this is impossible, then the tenant will need to move out and you can’t expect to receive rental payments.

Specialist landlord insurance has been designed to take account of the specific risks a landlord faces – and can provide reassuring comfort when extreme weather is expected.  One benefit of specialist landlord insurance cover is that should your property become inhabitable, and the tenant needs to find somewhere else to live then the costs of relocating the tenant could be covered.

If you don’t have a specialist landlord policy, speak to your local haart branch. They can introduce you to HomeLet who offers specialist insurance which has been designed for landlords.    

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