Alan Thomas, CEO of landlord insurance provider Simply Business, has shared five unexpected - but surprisingly common - property risks to watch out for as Britain faces record temperatures.
Simply Business is one of the UK’s biggest providers of small business and landlord insurance. Insuring over 350,000 landlords has given us a unique insight into some of the risks facing property owners – especially as the temperatures soar.
We’ve pulled together a list of five unexpected things to watch out for during the UK’s hottest week on record.
1. Open windows are an open invitation for criminals
With temperatures in the UK set to reach a record-breaking 40C this week, it’s only natural for people to open their windows. It can even be tempting for homeowners and tenants to leave windows open at night – or even throughout the day – to keep their property cool.
But it’s worth remembering that an open window can offer a glaring opportunity to potential criminals, and we’ve seen examples of theft claims down the years where windows have been left open during the day when no-one's home, and burglars have entered the house.
You can do a few things to keep your house cool and secure. For example, installing a cable window restrictor on any window that is easily accessible can be a good way to prevent a break-in. But also take extra care in your daily routine. Think of closing your windows as you would locking your front door when you leave the house.
2. Beware the gas BBQ
One of the benefits of the warmer weather is that you can start cooking outdoors – and in 2020, Brits held an impressive average of three barbecues each across the year.
Many opt for the convenience of a gas grill, but not without risk. There have been examples of barbecue gas bottles exploding when exposed to intense heat for a long period of time – and with temperatures set to break previous records this week, it’s worth being cautious.
Remember to keep them out of direct sunlight, and store them in a cool place.
3. Burst pipes – not just a winter risk
Bursting pipes are an issue that is generally associated with winter due to water freezing and pipes expanding. But your home's plumbing can be just as at risk in hotter months too.
Pipes are prone to warping when exposed to extreme temperatures so if you experience issues with your pipes in the winter months, it’s worth paying attention to them during a heatwave, too.
As the ground becomes drier, it’s more likely to move, which can cause pipes to shift and come loose.
4. Cracks in your brickwork? Be careful of that sinking feeling…
Subsidence occurs when the ground sinks around the foundations of a house – and it can happen when the ground becomes dry and shrinks. So inevitably as the weather gets warmer, and there is less rainfall, the causes of subsidence become more common.
It’s good to try and spot the signs of subsidence early. Some things to look out for include;
cracks in the walls, ceilings, outside brickwork, and under windows
plaster cracking in a diagonal movement
external doors not closing easily
Issues with subsidence can seriously affect the selling price of a property, so it’s worth keeping a close eye on any potential issues.
5. Don’t leave your electronics out in the sun
Whether you’re working from home in the garden, or enjoying some music at the weekend, it’s inevitable that you’ll take electronics outside in the heat at some point.
But it’s worth remembering that equipment like laptops and mobile phones can’t handle intense heat for long periods of time and can easily overheat. They also contain lithium batteries which get very hot – which can potentially cause fires. So pay extra attention to your equipment if you spend more time than usual outdoors in the hot weather.
Alan Thomas, CEO, Simply Business