When you rent your property out to other people, you’re relying on them to look after it like they would their own. While you can’t keep tabs on your tenants 24/7, there are a number of ways you can protect your property against serious and long-term damage.
Fire damage is one of the biggest risks your rental property faces but the good news is that even without your presence, there are still a number of ways you can prevent fires from occurring in the first place.
Before a new tenant moves in, it’s crucial that you carry out a safety check on the property. Unless you know what you’re doing (especially when it comes to the electrics), you should hire a professional to do this for you. If you’ve had the same tenants for years, it’s a good idea to carry out these checks again on a regular basis.
It’s also a legal requirement to have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted and to check that they’re working before a new tenancy starts. There are several other ways you can prevent fires from starting which include:
- Ensure that furnishings conform to The Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations 1988 – https://www.firesafe.org.uk/furniture-and-furnishings-fire-safety-regulations-19881989-and-1993/
- Gas appliances should be checked by a Gas Safe registered fitter every year
- Electrical appliances should carry the British Safety Standard sign
- Educate tenants about fire safety and prevention
It’s estimated that the floods of 2015/2016 cost the UK an eye-watering £5bn (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/floods-of-winter-2015-to-2016-estimating-the-costs). Despite this however, homes and businesses across the country are still unprepared for the harsh weather conditions we’ve faced in recent years.
While it’s impossible to completely flood-proof a property, there are a number of ways to minimise the likelihood of it happening and reducing the damage caused if it does.
- If your property is in a high-risk area, have flood resistance measures already in place which tenants can execute should they need to. This can include sand bags, guards and/or covers to go over ventilations bricks
- Raise electrical sockets, fuse boxes and wiring to at least 5ft above floor level
- In kitchens and bathrooms, use water-resistant materials such as stainless steel, plastic or solid wood
- Use tiled flooring with rugs rather than fitted carpets
- Fix TVs and other electrical devices on the wall
- Install a reliable gutter system from a reputable supplier like Alumasc and ensure its cleaned on a regular basis
- Ensure you’re insured against flood damage in case it does happen
Keep the property in good condition
Before a new tenant moves in, ensure the place is in good condition. A professional clean and a fresh lick of paint can really transform the place. A good tenant will be more inclined to respect your property and care for it properly if it’s in good condition when they move in.
Carry out regular inspections
You’re entitled to carry out regular inspections provided you give your tenants notice. Whether you do this yourself or you have a property management company doing this for you, it provides the opportunity to ensure that your property is being well maintained and if there are any issues, they can be dealt with quickly before they become a major problem.
Have the correct insurance
Sometimes, no matter how well you prepare, things go wrong. While there’s nothing you can do to prevent this, you can at least cover yourself. Landlord’s insurance varies across the providers but generally should cover you against fire, flooding, subsidence, the contents of the property, accidental damage, gas leaks, burst pipes, pest infestations, tenant injury, loss of rent and more.