Owning property can be lucrative and rewarding, but it may also come with various challenges and potential risks. When property owners let space to tenants, additional risks related to liability can become an issue.
A study by RSA Insurance looked into the leading risks and hazards that landlords face while attempting to let property. Landlords should protect themselves from these potential threats by considering the following guidance:
- Electrical fires—Most electrical fires are caused by equipment that has been poorly maintained or misused. Landlords should regularly inspect electrical items, wiring and other equipment inside a property. Avoid storing any combustible materials near electrical switchgear, distribution boards or light fittings. Furthermore, property owners should ensure that unnecessary equipment is shut down when a property is unoccupied.
- Vacant premises—Unoccupied properties are more vulnerable to a number of risks, including theft, arson and vandalism. It may be advisable for property owners to secure vacated properties using high-quality locks on doors and windows. Any broken windows should be repaired or boarded. Using anti-climb paint on drainpipes and gutters may help prevent intruders.
- Water—Leaking pipes cost the UK approximately £2.6 million daily. Property owners can reduce this risk by installing an alarm that automatically detects leaks and shuts off valves. Leaves, ice, snow and other debris should be cleared from gutters and roofs regularly. Valuable items inside a building should be moved away from areas that might be susceptible to leaks.
- Storm damage—Severe weather can lead to significant property damage. At least once a year, landlords should thoroughly investigate properties for loose or damaged panels, tiles or other building materials. Ensure that gutters, downpipes and other drainage equipment are cleared and cleaned.
- Illegal usage—It’s possible that tenants may use a property for illegal activities. Acquire official identification and documentation for all tenants and verify bank account details. Landlords should also inspect areas being occupied regularly.
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