Each year many landlords find themselves in a position whereby their property is unoccupied, and they therefore have to take out unoccupied property insurance until either they themselves move in, or they find someone else to do so.

But while having appropriate insurance is crucial, landlords still have a responsibility to ensure their properties are not put in under any unnecessary risk. As Autumn is now upon us (despite the hot weather over the start of October) landlords would be well advised to turn their attention towards the coming colder weather, and how it might affect their property. By far the biggest risk is that of burst pipes.

There are a number of things property owners can do to reduce the risk of this happening:

Pipes in colder areas (such as attics, basements etc.) of a property should be lagged with foam sleeving. While this should be sufficient in most cases, if you have an outbuilding, then trace heating might be needed too; this is a low voltage electric cable wrapped around the pipes, which keeps the temperature high enough to prevent freezing.

Lofts and attics should be properly insulated. You may be able to get some help with paying for this from your local council.

Before leaving a property for any substantial period of time over winter months, it is a good idea to turn the stop cock off, thereby preventing any more water from entering the plumping system. Ideally the property should be heated to around 13 degrees, but if for any reason this cannot be done, the plumbing system should be drained completely.

Following these steps should help minimise the risks of a burst pipe and a subsequent insurance claim.