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With winter approaching it’s even more important buy to let landlords take precautions to avoid blocked drains and burst pipes by :-

• insulating outside pipes and taps as well as tanks in unheated areas such as lofts, garages and outbuildings to prevent freezing;
• repairing leaking taps or valves to keep frost at bay and save water;
• regularly servicing central heating boilers;
• turning off the water supply at the stop cock if a pipe freezes and bursts;
• leaving heating on at around 14 degrees if the property is empty for a short period but keeping an eye on weather forecasts. If away for longer, turn off the water supply and drain down the system; and
• using approved, qualified plumbers to carry out necessary work

Remember, better insulation won’t just lower bills but protect the property from the worst effects of the cold weather.

Landlords are generally responsible for hot water and heating but need to retain proof of regular checks and give specific advice for tenants to ensure heating levels are maintained in cold weather to reduce the risk of problems arising.

If there’s a burst, then walls, ceilings and contents could be damaged so it’s important to be ready. Landlords and lettings agents should arrange buildings and contents insurance but clearly advise tenants what’s covered and what isn’t.