Residential property maintenance tips

Residential property maintenance tips

Residential property management is challenging but with a regular inspection routine it is possible to reduce the risks of bigger issues developing. We’ve produced a short guide to help you.

In general

Start by checking:

• The overall condition of the property
• The roofs; the clearance of gutters and drainpipes
• Common areas and the surrounding grounds, including gardens, pathways, parking & service areas

Electrical safety

Landlords of rented residential accommodation have a responsibility to ensure that all electrical installations and appliances provided are safe. This includes making sure that they are also in good repair and proper working order, not just at the time of tenancy but throughout the duration of the tenancy too.

• All electrical installations should be inspected and tested by a competent electrical contractor once every 5 years
• The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) also recommends an inspection whenever there is a change of tenancy
• Keep records of all inspections and subsequent work
• With multiple occupancy houses (whether licenced or not), there is a legal requirement for testing not to exceed 5 years.

Plumbing Services

Always make sure that there is sufficient heating to prevent freezing of the plumbing services. In addition:

• Properly lag water tanks and pipes in roof spaces and other exposed positions
• Regularly exercise stopcocks (consider proprietary automatic stopcocks)
• Plumbing services should be isolated and drained and then inspected weekly in unoccupied properties

Heating and Cooking

• Maintain gas or oil fired central heating boilers and other appliances in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
• Only let Gas Safe registered engineers work on gas appliances
• The use of portable LPG and paraffin heaters should not be permitted

Contractor’s operations

The risk is always heightened when you have outside contractors working on your property. You can reduce the risk by:

• Adequately supervising contractors.
• Take care if the work involves heat, such as the use of welding equipment
• Only use reputable contractors and check that they have up to date, and adequate levels of public liability insurance cover
• When work is on buildings made of timber it is essential that all fire stopping materials in cavities or voids are reinstated properly if they’ve ever been removed

Arson prevention

Arson remains the largest cause of fires in the UK. However, you can reduce the risk:

• Ensure any rubbish or bin rooms are kept secure
• Site plastic wheeled waste bins in a secure position well away from the building
• Secure all entrances and exits to common areas in flats and maisonettes

Fire Safety Legislation

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and equivalent legislation in Scotland & Northern Ireland, landlords of flats and maisonettes must carry out a fire risk assessment of all common areas and the necessary fire precautions put in place. The law does not require this risk assessment to be recorded in writing but we recommend a written assessment is obtained and kept.

Further information

Further guidance on electrical safety is published by the Electrical Safety Council and is available at www.esc.org.uk

Further advice concerning these matters is available from the local Fire Authority or the Residential Landlords Association at www.rla.org.uk

What to do next

Maintaining residential properties can save you a lot of money and time in the long run. We can often do the same with your insurance requirements. We are experts in property insurance and understand all the issues so if you’d like more information, or would like us to review your cover please call our experts now.

Call 01789 761670

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