how to deal with emergencies

An emergency is anything that will have an impact on the health, safety or wellbeing of a landlord’s tenants or will cause damage to the property if the problem is not corrected swiftly. A list of emergencies could include:
  • Non-working heating.
  • Damage to doors or windows that could put a tenant at risk of a break in.
  • Faulting plumbing that renders the only washing or toilet facilities unusable.
  • An electrical failure.
  • Flooding from a burst pipe.

    • Specifying what constitutes an emergency

    • Some people’s definition of an emergency varies from others so to avoid being called out in the middle of the night for something trivial like a dripping tap the definition of what a true emergency is should be defined in the tenant’s house manual. The key to avoiding calls at all hours of the night is effective communication with the tenant. If they feel the landlord is taking them seriously and will react correctly to emergencies, then they are less likely to make an excessive fuss if a problem develops. .

      Use of the house manual

      The landlord may not always be contactable straight away so it’s worth covering in the house manual what to do in the main categories of emergency situation:
    • If the tenants smell gas, they should call the National Gas Emergency Service number. (0800 111 999) and turn off the supply at the meter.
    • If the house is on fire, they should call 999.
    • If the electricity supply is disrupted, detail where the consumer unit is located,
    • advise them to check the fuses and flick the switch back if one of them is in the wrong position. Also provide the electrical company’s number to check if it’s a wider area outage.
    • If there is a water leak detail where the stopcock is so they can turn off the water supply until someone qualified can investigate the sauce.
    • If they are locked out provide the number of a local 24-hour locksmith.
    • The tenants should be made aware that they should be prepared to take appropriate measures themselves in the first instance.

      Landlord emergency cover

    • For a small fee a landlord can take out a policy of “landlord emergency cover”. The insurance company provides a 24-hour hotline number and along with the policy number the tenants can use this to call the company directly and sort out problems without the landlord needing to be involved at all.>/li> Policies obviously vary but as an example a typical policy may cover repairs up to £500 for anything related to:
    • Plumbing failure and leaks.
    • Electrical failure.
    • Heating failure.
    • The security of doors and windows.
    • The control of pests and vermin.
    • If there is an emergency, then the tenant calls the insurer who will sort out the problem for the landlord.
    • A separate policy can also be taken out that just covers the boiler such as with British Gas (HomeCare).