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Winter weather prompts warning for homeowners and housing landlords

As the cold weather grips the county, homeowners and landlords of privately rented properties are being advised to check they have sufficient house insurance to cover any potential weather damage to their properties.

Every winter, the private sector housing team at Herefordshire Council receives many calls from residents complaining of burst water pipes, leaks, broken gas boilers and heating systems which fail due to the cold weather.  Chimney fires also tend to increase as people use multi-fuel stoves to heat their homes without realising the importance of  properly installing and maintaining these  stoves.

“It is important that everyone is prepared for the effects of cold weather on their homes, particularly  with the cold snap we’re all experiencing at the moment.  This includes homeowners and landlords of privately rented properties, who should ensure that they have adequate house insurance,” said Denise Bradley-Lloyd, private sector housing manager.

“The council has very limited resources available to help in an emergency, so we are advising everyone  to take responsibility as far as possible for the upkeep of their homes and rented properties.”

To help prevent homes being left without heating or drinking water, or suffer a chimney fire, the private sector housing team is advising people to get prepared now by going through the following checklist:

• Know where your water stopcock is located
• Ensure that your gas boiler is serviced annually
• Ensure that your chimney is swept annually
• If you have a wood burning stove – ensure it is properly installed  by a  qualified  engineer
• Make sure all your water pipes are lagged – especially outdoor ones in garages and outbuildings
• Pay particular attention to outdoor taps – make sure they are insulated
• Insulate water pipes in your loft
• Make sure your gutters are cleared  and  properly attached to the downpipes
• Keep your insurers contact details to hand.

“In addition, landlords have a legal obligation to provide interim heating and safe water supplies to tenants. This could be expensive, so take precautions now,” added Denise Bradley-Lloyd.