The arrival of Hurricane Gonzalo is set to give property owners all over the country a headache as once again we are reminded just how much is outside of our control when it comes to property spend.
We were hit badly by the sheer scale of storm that battered the UK between December 2013 and February 2014 which was absolutely relentless and showed no mercy to our fence panels, our roof and indeed the whole right side of our house which did not take kindly to being saturated with heavy, driving rain for three months.
Whilst tradesman were rubbing their hands together in glee, we, like many other property owners, nervously emerged from our homes to inspect the full extent of damage and were horrified to learn that we were looking at a few thousand pounds worth of damage.
Weather in the UK appears to be getting more extreme every year with severe large scale flooding in some areas and it’s something that most of us fail to plan for. The clocks go back this week and as we enter another wet winter, we will be mindful of the following:
Don’t risk underinsuring
Buying insurance is no fun but is an absolute necessity. Most mortgage companies contractually insist that you carry adequate cover but many owners still buy too little cover thereby leaving their pockets over exposed in the event of a weather emergency.
Whilst it’s true that your insurance won’t cover everything (read the small print) it’s a damn site better than having no cover at all and you shouldn’t enter winter without it. We use Simple Landlords and you can see why in our post here.
It’s amazing how a small bit of preparation in advance can save big problems later.
If your property is in a flood risk area there are options available to help minimise flood risk, such as; installing flood defence doors, removable air brick covers, having your electrical sockets raised and moving furniture upstairs (if you can) when the risk is most severe. You may benefit from keeping a stock of sandbags to hand also – don’t wait until the weather warning is out or you’ll be joining the back of a very long (and agitated) queue.
Others might consider turning off water supply to unused outside taps to prevent pipe freezing, checking fence panels are secure, purchasing salt or grit for steep driveways and investing in good overall property maintenance.
It’s common practice for landlords and investors to budget for unplanned repair / maintenance work but is something that domestic property owners are unlikely to do. As a rule of thumb you should be looking to save between 1 and 3% of your property value per annum just for this purpose. It may be irritating to have some of your profit siphoned away into a rainy day fund, but you could be literally looking at a rainy day emergency soon and you’ll be pleased you took the cut over the year.
A huge, HUGE bugbear for us is the large number of idiot tradesmen carrying out subpar work and giving the whole industry a bad name. You don’t want to be looking for a tradesmen in an emergency because only the unpopular people will be available in the event of a disaster and even te good ones will likely sense your panic and rip you off – two roofs and a boiler for us.
Try to establish good trade connections with people that consistently carry out good quality, fair priced work for you. If you have a network of trusty tradesman that get your support, they are more likely to prioritise your jobs over others when there is a weather crisis, saving you money in the long run from shoddy workmanship.
Forecasters predict a continued presence of extreme weather and though you can’t prevent it, protect yourself as much as possible and you won’t be suffer quite as much as everyone else. Either that or sue the weatherman!
Do you have any other tips on how to protect property from extreme weather? Let us know in the comments below.