It is often assumed that there is nothing you can do to avoid loss or damage to your property. In fact there are a number of ways that you can control and reduce your exposure to risk and therefore reduce the possibility of having to make a claim.
The following pointers to reduce your exposure to different types of risk are by no means exhaustive but should be useful to identify potential issues and take the appropriate action.
Escape of Water
- Ensure that you/your tenants know the location of stopcocks and that these are kept accessible
- Ensure that condition of roofing and gutters is inspected regularly (at least annually)
- Look at recovering flat roofs (which are a particular problem) if they are over 10 years old
- Adequate lagging should be provided to water tanks and pipes in unheated areas of buildings
- Ensure minor leaks are repaired immediately
- Ensure that heating is maintained at a low level (minimum 5 degrees C) even if the property is unoccupied for any period of time (also remember that you must inform us if the property is empty for more than 30 days)
- Ensure that smoke alarms are wired into the mains supply (i.e. not battery operated). This is now a requirement for all new and converted flats
- Ensure that adequate emergency lighting operating independently of the main supply is provided
- Ensure that fire exit signs are clearly visible and display approved pictograms.
- Ensure that doors onto fire escape routes are self-closing and are maintained in good condition
- Ensure that fire/smoke alarms kept in good working order and should be tested on a weekly basis
- For landlords, internal doors in the property should be kept closed to reduce the risk of fire spreading
- For landlords, fire blankets in kitchens and a range of fire extinguishers available for tackling both electrical fires and wood/paper fires
- For landlords, tenants should be made aware that they may not tore flammable liquids, gases or other hazardous materials in garages or bin-stores
- For manufacturing/industrial premises - ensure that "good housekeeping" procedures are in place
Subsidence and Ground Heave
- Leaking drains should be repaired as soon as a problem is reported
- Water should not be allowed to collect near the property
- Trees and shrubs should be regularly pruned to avoid problems, and be kept a safe distance from buildings
- Doors and windows should be maintained in good working order and have approved locks which conform to B53621 for theft resistant locks
- For landlords, consider asking tenants to join a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme - details of which are available from your local Crime Prevention Officer
- External lighting may be fitted to deter thieves
- The condition of walkways and private roadways need to be checked regularly to ensure they are level and free from cracked paving stones and potholes
- Staircases, balconies and areas overlooking drops should have suitable hand rails and guard rails fitted
- Buildings should be inspected regularly to make sure that there are no loose tiles or fittings
- Boundary walls, fences and gates should be maintained in good condition.