As there has been such a focus recently on landlords keeping all their properties at a decent standard many are becoming more concerned over their properties becoming damaged, especially as it means they will be expected to pay out and fix the problem as quickly as possible. Furthermore, as local authorities are now more involved in the private rental sector if your tenants feel you aren’t maintaining their home properly they could complain which could land you in a lot of trouble. The best way to solve this problem is to prevent damages happening to your properties in the first place, but how can this be done?
Prepare for the Worst
Two of the most common causes of property damage are fire and floods, and as both can start and spread extremely quickly you could find yourself facing thousands of pounds in damages in just a matter of minutes. Therefore, it is important that you keep your properties safe at all times, which will not just benefit you but also your tenants and their possessions. As a landlord you must fit a fire alarm into each level of your property by law, however there are even more things you can do to protect your property such as supplying fire blankets and fire extinguishers in your properties.
If you live in an area that is prone to flooding then make sure you cover your property with an extensive landlord insurance policy that will pay out for water damage. You should also invest in some sandbags for your properties and make sure you advise your tenants as and when they will need to use them should the worst happen.
Keep burglars out
Having a property burgled can not only cost you money but also lead to your tenants feeling extremely upset and potentially even unsafe in their own home. Furthermore, depending on the extent of the burglary you could find just a broken window and a few missing items, or you could have your property completely trashed and thousands of pounds worth of goods gone. Either way, you will need to call the police as soon as you find out your property has been burgled in order to find out if the thieves broke in or if one of your tenants left the property vulnerable.
Unfortunately, most burglars are opportunistic, which means that you need to talk to your tenants to make sure that they understand how to keep the property safe even when they are there. You would be surprised how many thefts happen in the summer when people leave windows and back doors open, especially if expensive items such as laptops or iPods are left out!
Check the security of your properties
Depending on the age of your properties you could find that they are more susceptible to damages or break-ins, especially if they have wooden beams or single-panel windows. These days, most landlords look for ways to improve the safety of their properties such as installing double glazing or having checks done on the structure every twelve months in order to make sure nothing is starting to rot or wear down.
If you own a commercial property you will need to be even more careful, especially as the likelihood of damages increases by tenfold as a number of people will be walking in and out of your property on a daily basis. As a commercial landlord you may want to think about investing in a commercial landlord insurance policy that includes public liability, especially in this day and age where even minor accidents can lead to full-on court cases. Another way to protect your commercial properties is to make sure that you have an alarm and even CCTV systems installed to deter thieves and protect your tenants’ contents and businesses.
Keeping your properties safe is one of the best ways to save yourself time and money in the long-run, however don’t forget that you can only do so much. Unless your tenants also look after your properties you could find your efforts are all in vain, so make sure you talk to them about safety and make it clear that if damages are caused by their neglect they will have to pay out. You should also remind them to arrange content cover for their possessions too – unless you are very generous you probably don’t want to cover this under your own landlord insurance policy!