Keeping a property in good condition is not only best practice – it’s a legal requirement. Landlord insurance policies will typically stipulate that the insured property is in a good condition. But what exactly does this mean, and how should landlords ensure they follow this condition?
We’ve put together a handy list of maintenance essentials for landlords to follow to make sure you’re protecting your property.
Know your responsibilities
First things first, you need to be clear of exactly where your responsibilities lie.
Normally, landlords will take accountability for the following:
- Walls, roof, electrical wiring, heating, hot water, sinks, toilets, pipes and drains
- Other items such as dishwashers and cookers could be specified in inventories.
While landlords are not normally responsible for appliances, it’s best to check that you’re happy these are safe and pose no risk to the property.
Usually tenants take responsibility for:
- Keeping the property clean
- Minor maintenance
- Fixing any damage they’ve created.
Don’t cut corners
If you spot a problem early, you could save money in the long term. It’s as simple as that. That’s why if you choose to cut corners and not undertake regular inspections, you run the risk of problems developing into something much more problematic and costly.
A good idea is to build regular inspections into the tenancy agreement – take a seasonal approach and plan ahead with a calendar scheduling regular check ups. This way, you don’t have to completely rely on your tenants, who may not tell you about problems until they leave.
Take pipes for example – if they freeze, they can cause a whole world of damage. By undertaking regular inspections, you’ll notice any cracks or fissures, allowing you to deal with them as a matter of urgency, before they get worse.
Plus, you’ll have more time to plan ahead and make sure you’re hiring the right people to complete the repairs and avoiding a rushed, shoddy job.
Good record keeping is a must. You should include:
- Photos of the state of the property
- What you have checked
- Any resulting actions
- Repair works required
- Repair work in progress.
Keeping a file with receipts and records of your inspection and maintenance actions will come in handy in the long run.
Not only will it help you remember the tradesman who did a good job for you in the past, if you ever need to, you’ll have evidence to show your insurer you have attempted to keep your property in a good state.
Regular inspections, proper maintenance, and record keeping are all sure-fire ways of ensuring the insurance condition is met.
Gas and electricity – do you know the statutory obligations?
Safety is paramount. As well as ensuring the annual gas safety checks are carried out, it is also recommended that you ensure fixed electrical installations and appliances are safe. The best idea is to make sure a regular servicing programme is in place – reducing the chances of anything going wrong.
And don’t forget the roof…
Often missed in inspections and planned maintenance programmes, problems in this area can cause major damage.
Commissioning a specialist to check the roof at least once a year is recommended, and in fact, some insurance policies insist on this. And remember, if you own an old property, it’s more likely to need more in the way of roof maintenance.
Let our approved contractors take the hassle out of maintenance. Call 020 7078 0214 to speak to one of our agents today.