Some less obvious maintenance matters in your holiday home.
It is important to maintain regular checks inside and out of your holiday home and not just to stay compliant with your insurance policy requirements, but also you should want property to be inspected on a regular basis to ensure you can keep it maintained in such a way that small problems are dealt with before they become major issues. If you cannot personally check your property or enlist reliable friends to do so for you, you will need to call on the services of a company which offers thorough property checks and who can then contact you should there be any maintenance issues.
There are obvious maintenance issues such as storm damage to parts of the building, such as roof tiles, shutters or chimney pots blowing off, or a foreign object damaging the building or water damage, and the winter months can bring a combination of heavy rain and freezing conditions, which will often lead to burst pipes and cracked concrete and masonry etc… are clearly serious concerns, but do also bear in mind the not such obvious enemies in your effort to keep your home in top shape.
The occurrence of mould, for example, is not covered by your insurance. All houses suffer with it from time to time whether permanently lived in or not. It is however, potentially damaging to a building’s fabric and particularly any soft materials such as curtains, bedding and sofas. Months on end of wet weather, which is common all over Europe, not just in the UK and Ireland, in the winter months, combined with the lack habitation, makes this problem common in holiday homes. Mould problems may be hidden – so check wardrobes that may contain suitcases or blankets, pillows etc. While mould doesn’t rot woodwork, it can make it more prone to take on moisture and so makes it more vulnerable to the fungal growths that do prey on wood. If you find that you have a severe mould problem, you may need to hire or buy a de-humidifier to thoroughly dry out your property.
If you are struck on arrival at your holiday home by how the garden is looking ‘lovely and mature’, consider that the plants root systems are similarly flourishing underground. They may be interfering with underground cabling and drainage, particularly the roots of larger bushes or trees close to the house or its vital pipework. Greenery can even work its way into window frames and airbricks. Root systems wrapped around and indeed crushing sewers can be a disruptive and expensive problem to put right. So, again – literally almost in this case – nip the problem in the bud by keeping shrubs well cut back in the garden of your holiday home, more than you might choose to do in your permanent residence. Or try and arrange for gardener to keep your garden under control during times your home may be unoccupied for longer periods
Finally a word about our furry friends, remember not to leave any food in your holiday home when it is going to be left unoccupied for longer periods to ensure you do not attract mice or rats. These vermin are not just un-hygienic they are capable of causing terrible damage as they will nibble through wires cables and plastic pipes, and in most instance insurers will not provide cover to the home for damaged caused by vermin.
So always remember a regular internal and external inspections of your holiday will not only fulfil your obligation to your insurer, it can also save you money as you are able to react to minor maintenance issues before they become bigger problems, and all insurance policies will insist the home is kept in a good state of repair!!!