Article by Peter Jones, ADI Pro Leak Ltd.:
Why Water Leak Detection Should Be a Key Component of Your Landlord Business Model
As a landlord, the number of tasks and jobs that fall under your responsibility can seem endless, and it is all too easy to make the wrong decisions when it comes to prioritization. Leak detection should, in our opinion, be one of your number one focuses because a hidden leak or a burst pipe can have devastating effects on your property and your tenants.
Let's start by considering the financial implications.
- It is highly likely that if your tenant's possessions are damaged due to a hidden leak or burst pipe, you would be legally responsible for replacing those items.
- In severe cases, your property might require very expensive structural restoration.
- You could lose your tenants if they have to find alternative accommodation while the property is repaired.
- Your Insurance Premiums are likely to increase.
Water Leaks Are Much More Prevalent Than Many Landlords Anticipate
It might be reasonable to assume that a water leak in a property is a relatively rare occurrence, but statistics from the insurance industry blows that theory out of the water. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), Escape of water damage is one of the most common types of domestic property damage claims, with insurers paying out £1.8 million for it every day, with water claims rising every year.
The pandemic has changed how many people work, with many now working from home on a more regular or even permanent basis. This means that toilets, baths, showers and central heating systems are likely to be used more, which will inevitably increase the wear and tear they face. If anything, water leaks and burst pipes are only going to increase.
What Other Factors Are Contributing To The Increase In Water Leaks in Rental Properties?
- Modern homes are designed with aesthetic appeal at the core of every new property. Unfortunately, this means that pipes and other essential but not necessarily attractive components are hidden away behind walls or under floorboards. This means that when a leak does develop, it is much more difficult to trace, and in many instances, it can develop over many months before either your tenants or yourself become aware of the issue.
- The materials used in modern buildings are not necessarily of such high standards as in previous years.
- Tenants will never be as concerned about preventative measures in the same way that the property owner will be.
- Push-Fit Pipes for appliance fittings are dramatically increasing in popularity.
What Measures Can A Landlord Implement To Minimize The Risk of Water Leaks
As part of your annual inspection, ensure that the plumbing and any appliances that are connected to a water supply. Ideally, it would be beneficial to conduct these checks every three months, but that will depend on the agreement you have in place with your tenant.
Develop and Nurture A Good Relationship With Your Tenants
Tenants can be your best tool in protecting your property and minimizing any water leak damage. A good tenant is worth their weight in gold, so go the extra mile to ensure that they are happy and take pride in your property. You could educate them by showing them where the stopcock is and responding quickly to them when they have an issue. You want them to feel free to contact you rather than being viewed as a hassle. This means that they will contact you quickly when any issue does occur.
You should ask your tenants to notify you if they notice anything that could indicate a plumbing issue – such as a leaking tap or a dramatic increase in their water bill.
Make Sure You Have Sufficient Insurance in Place
Never assume that your insurance is adequate without checking all of the terms and conditions properly. You should have proper rental insurance rather than just a standard home insurance policy, as the last thing you want is for something serious to go wrong, only to find that your insurance is invalid due to some technical issue or concern.
Find a Specialist Leak Detection Company
As mentioned above, not all leaks are easy to locate, and sometimes even though you know, there is a leak finding it can be problematic or even seemingly impossible. That is where the services of a specialist leak detection company can be worth its weight in gold. These companies have knowledge, experience and specialist tools to locate and trace a leak no matter how small or challenging the problem may seem. As a landlord, we would always advise you to find a reputable leak detection company and store their number on your phone. Your Motto with water leaks should always be to prevent the leak from happening in the first place, but if it does happen, respond with haste and get the problem sorted.