Reduce the Risk of Insurance Claims by Regular Landlord Inspections

Are you a landlord who worries about the dreaded phone call from your tenants informing you there is a problem with your property? There is a provision to give landlords peace of mind should the worse arise and work is needed to repair damage to the property. That is, of course, landlords insurance. But to avoid the risk of unnecessary claims which will only serve to increase a landlord’s premiums and excesses, regular inspections of the property are not only the wise option but are also a sign of a professional approach property management.

Not withstanding damage to the property, loss of rental income while reparations are made, or even the loss of the tenant altogether all have financial implications.  Even with the best Landlord’s Insurance in place, it is still in the landlord’s interests to keep claims to a minimum.

An inspection is not just about superficial damage to fixtures and fittings which are often just a sign of normal “wear and tear”.  It is more about looking for early signs of more significant issues and taking appropriate remedial action before the situation gets worse and more substantial repairs are required.

What to Look For?

A mid-tenancy is not just about seeing if the tenants are keeping the garden tidy or doing the washing up.  The inspections prime area of concern is the property itself.  Their aim is to identify areas of concern and to carry out routine maintenance before they escalate and cause major damage which might result in a claim or even endanger the tenant’s health.

Signs of Dampness and Mould

Wet walls and black mould are unsightly and unhealthy.  In our draught proof, centrally heated, insulated homes, condensation is usually the culprit.  The obvious solution is to install adequate extraction fans in the kitchen and bathroom areas, and to check these regularly to ensure they are functioning as required.

More obvious signs of damp causing damage to the surface decoration and crumbling plaster may be the result of more serious problems such as a damaged damp proof course, broken gutters and lost tiles.  While such damage may be covered by the insurance policy, routine maintenance of such things would be better dealt with as early as possible to minimise the damage and the cost of potential repairs.

More Serious Water Damage

Water leakages from faulty appliances and poorly maintained plumbing systems can cause extensive damage to decoration finishes and even the fabric of the building.  And by its very nature, water has a way of causing damage far away from the root cause of the problem.  It can run through cavities, under floor boards, and quietly spread under floor coverings, doing considerable damage long before the tenants are aware of the problem.

That is why a regular inspection targeting the plumbing is essential especially in older properties, as copper pipes do corrode and solder joints do go brittle and can give way in the passage of time.  Specific areas of concern would be where washing machines and dishwashers are connected, and in and around baths and showers.  Long term water leakage can cause extensive damage to floors and joists which would be very expensive to replace and would lead to a further loss of rental income while the necessary work was undertaken.

General Condition of the Property and its Fixtures and Fittings.

A routine inspection will enable to landlord to identify areas for routine maintenance, which when carried out promptly, would prevent further damage.  Tenants may put up with a sticking door, a loose cupboard hinge, or tricky light switch, thinking it a small inconvenience and not worth bothering the landlord with.  But a loose hinge might eventually break off, resulting in the need for a new kitchen unit, and a tricky light switch could lead to a more serious electrical fault.  In all cases, prompt remedial action will prevent further damage and save money.

The Garden

The garden is one more area that needs to be checked regularly.  Loose paving slabs could be a hazard to tenants and others who require access to the property, such as postal and shopping delivery drivers.  An untidy garden, or one that has piles of rubbish or unwanted furniture could attract rats and unfavourable comments from neighbours.

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