How to keep your home dry

As the wettest January for 250 years enters the record books so many experts are predicting that 2014 will be the year when homeowners start to take flood defences seriously.  The pictures of flooded and water-soiled homes that followed the deluges have already started a debate about where and how properties are built and many are now worrying that the 200,000 homes built on floodplains over the past decade are in grave peril.
But on a more practical level, what can homeowners do to protect their properties from an increasingly soggy world outside?

The most common option is to insert a damp proof course particularly as many period properties in London and elsewhere have either no, or only rudimentary, damp courses in situ to prevent water and moisture ingress.
‘Damp proof course’ can mean many things and varies from pieces of slate inserted into the brickwork (during the mid-19th century) to the polymers that are now used to create waterproof ‘skins’ below plasterwork.
But given the average £5,000 to £10,000 cost of a damp course for a three bedroom semi, is it really necessary to keep out moisture as the rain batters down? Many people think this, not including chartered surveyor Martin Hall, who believes it’s better to focus on prevention than cure.

Estate Agents in Wandsworth Town
He recommends focusing instead on keeping water away from walls before considering a damp course render, particularly for older buildings, which means maintaining gutters properly and inspecting render, pointing and brickwork quality regularly.  Other experts say it’s wise to also check window sills for cracks, internal water pipes for leaks and that all airbricks in the property are kept free of leaf litter. Most experts agree a property that is allowed to ‘breathe’ is less likely to feature damp, however bad the weather may be outside.




Important information for Landlords in 2013

Every year as the winter season approaches and the temperature drops, boilers begin to malfunction with increasing frequency. This year, landlords should be prepared for the additional thorny problem of flues (note the additional ‘e’ – this is not a reminder to get your flu jabs!).

Starting in January 2013, regulations dictate that all flue systems must be visible for inspection as part of the standard yearly gas safety report. While the inspection of flues is fairly straightforward in houses, it may prove very troublesome in flats and apartment complexes.

Advances in technology have made it possible for boilers to be mounted not only on outside walls but in a variety of positions which are more suited to flats and apartments, where space is at a premium. Consequently, many such boilers have been installed in areas where the flue cannot be inspected to make sure it is functioning in a safe and proper manner.

From January 2013, if the gas engineer inspecting your property cannot view the flue along its length they will advise that the installation is ‘At Risk’ and seek your permission to turn it off. In order to prevent this, inspection hatches will have to be installed.

Fortunately for any landlord fretting over a holiday season ruined by hatches, flues and government red-tape, James Pendleton are here to help! Our gas safety engineers are on hand to help with any queries, in addition to carrying out all the necessary work to get your property up to the legally required standard.

If you would like to enquire about getting your property ready for the new regulations in 2013 don’t hesitate to contact our property management team, who will be happy to answer any queries. Otherwise please click here to read the frequently asked questions about boiler flues.