Water Damage, Rental Properties and How We Could Save The Day

Tuesday 10th Nov 2020

Renting out a property, has been a chosen business portfolio for many and, with the UK in a recession for the first time in  11 years, it is thought that more people may find themselves having to rent as homes become harder to purchase once the stamp duty holiday has concluded and high deposits from mortgage lenders remain.

In 2019, there were over 4.55m rental properties in the UK, and with that expected to rise it is worth knowing, as a landlord, about the obligations you have to your tenants pertaining to water supply and the damage that water can cause to properties.   

What are landlords responsible for?

It is the property owner’s responsibility to make sure things like the heating and plumbing are in good working order, are safe, and have the necessary safety checks, services and certification that are legally required.

As a landlord/property owner you have responsibilities under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenants Act which includes maintaining drains, gutters and external pipes and keeping in proper working order the supply of water, gas and electricity to heat the property and provide hot water. Equally important is that you also have the correct insurance to protect against the worst, should it occur and this can include the costly and inconvenient aspect of a water leak, that sometimes cannot be prevented even in the most well maintained of properties.

Coupled with tenants who may not care for the property as you would wish, it is worth making sure everything is in place to minimise the cost of water damage, however it occurs.

What happens if there is a leak?

As a landlord, the responsibility lies with you for any damage caused. This means that you will have to put it right. This can be frustrating if tenants fail to report the leak quickly, or indeed fail to spot it. It is recommended that landlords educate tenants as to where stopcocks are located, how to turn of leaking radiators and to clearly specify that any plumbing modifications to the property are not permitted. To reduce the risk further, the installation of a Surestop water valve, means turning off the stopcock is as simple as the flick of a switch meaning that all tenants are able to fulfil the task with ease.

Of particular concern is a water leak when a property is vacant. A Surestop i-water control with the Honeywell Leak Detector, can provide an early alert to the landlord of the leak and, can be valuable in mitigating damage when the property is unoccupied.  By installing an easy to use app, water supplies to properties can be turned off/on remotely to aid with damage prevention but also for flushing systems of unoccupied properties and resuming supply ahead of new tenants.

Just an accident

As with everything there is always the human element to accidents such as tenants leaving taps running etc. Whilst they are strictly liable for any damage caused in such circumstances, it is wise to have accidental damage cover for this to give an added level of protection against unexpected repair bills. It is also worth ensuring that this accidental cover also takes into account water damage caused by neighbours of a property that you don’t own.

Whilst our Surestop valve and Surestop i-water control system won’t cover every eventuality in rental properties, it certainly goes a long way to removing much of the worry and costs associated with water damage.

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