The landlords guide to protecting your let property against storm damage
We all know how hard it is to predict the British weather, so it is essential that homeowners are as well placed as possible to deal with the potential pitfalls that can arise when a heavy storm comes. Extreme weather is becoming more commonplace and the age of climate change means that the risk to your properties has never been greater.
As a result, there are a number of steps that should be taken to ensure that a property is set up to deal with anything that the natural world can throw at it. Following these relatively simple guidelines will mean that a property is protected against storm damage and other extreme weather types.
Regularly check roof tiles
This is one of the most basic measures that can be taken to protect against flooding. It goes without saying that if a roof is not properly covered, it is susceptible to leakages and in a matter of minutes this could escalate from a small drip to a full-on flood.
In the case of a rented property, it is always the landlord's responsibility to make sure that tiles are in place. The only way of really being sure of this is to regularly check the roof. Obviously the size of the property will dictate how big a task this is. For buildings that are particularly tall or have a large roof area, it could be the best option to look into employing a professional tiler.
If tiles are found to be missing, these need to be replaced as soon as possible in anticipation of any stormy weather, even if none has been forecast for the immediate future. Always bear in mind that although all the tiles might be in place following a check, they could be blown away at any time if a storm is prolonged.
Secure aerials and chimney stacks
Although chimney stacks and TV aerials pose less of a risk of a flood if they are dislodged, the consequences for a landlord could be just as serious. The high winds that often come with heavy storms could easily cause either of these fixtures to fall from the roof of the property.
This is extremely dangerous for anyone who might happen to be passing below. If a chimney stack was to fall on someone it could cause serious injury and result in legal action.
Similarly, falling chimney stacks could cause damage to a tenant or neighbour's personal property - something that the landlord will again be liable for if an investigation finds that it had not been properly secured.
Identify overhanging trees that could be a risk
Surrounding foliage and shrubbery are sometimes a major pull for tenants when deciding on a property to rent, but in the event of a storm, overhanging trees could suddenly become a huge problem.
Landlords must make sure that any trees with branches that extend close to the property are kept in check. When a storm hits and high winds pick up, branches will sway more than normal and could also be at risk of snapping off completely. This could have the potential to smash windows or cause significant damage to the exterior of the property - a scenario that could prove hugely expensive for the landlord and devastating for the tenant.
However, it should always be considered that cutting down trees can be a contentious issue. Many larger trees encroach onto more than one property, meaning that neighbours may have to be consulted before any action is taken. In this situation, it is worth remembering that safety should always come before aesthetics.
Secure wooden fences
On a similar note, the risk that unsecure garden fences pose cannot be ignored. During the summer months when the weather is calm, it is easy to understand why the odd loose picket might not seem like too much of an issue. But given how quickly the weather in the UK can transform from still to extreme, it is best to always prepare for the worst case scenario.
The surface areas of larger fences mean that they could be quite easily swept away in high wind and carry quite a large amount of force with them. In essence, fences can turn into a kind of wind sail, which if blown away during a storm could have a disastrous outcome for the garden, the outside of the property or any vehicles that are parked nearby.
This is again primarily the responsibility of the landlord to maintain. When attending a premises to assess any work that might need doing, remember to do a full check on gardens and outdoor areas as well as the interior. Realistically, it will often be the tenant who will spot any issues first and in this event it is up to them to inform the landlord so that the necessary maintenance can be carried out.
Overall, the best advice that a landlord can follow to keep themselves protected from stormy weather is to make sure that any problems are rectified in a quick and responsive way, before they grow and pose serious risk of causing damage.