16 July 2009

Check the loft before you buy or rent a property

As part of the property purchase or rental decision-making process, when viewing a property with a loft don’t forget to check up there to ensure that it is well insulated.

And whilst you are checking this, make sure that any downlights installed the ceiling below are protected from contact with loft insulation, building debris and other flammable material.

We often find that people simply move the insulation away from downlights (see above picture), which defeats the object of having insulation and allows condensation to form in the loft. Furthermore, if your loft is not adequately insulated a lot of energy will be wasted in winter, not to mention drafts from the attic.

A solution to this problem is to fit insulation guards or fire hoods above downlights. They cost around £10 per unit and protect the lights from the insulation covering above and prevent them from overheating. A simple solution to improve safety, as well as keeping the loft fully insulated and energy bills down.

Downlight guards and fire hoods are available at DIY stores, electrical or lighting

Pictures below: fire hood and insulation guard

If you are based in Berkshire and need help to install downlight protection guards in your loft, please contact our electrical services company
Chez-Vous Property Services now.

Labels: , , ,

07 July 2009

Going on a summer holiday? Tips to secure and protect your home!

Summer is here! Many of us will be going on a well-deserved and long-awaited holiday. Before departing, we enjoy planning activities and what to take with us. So remember to take a bit of time to include plans for protecting your home during your absence. Then you will be able to relax and enjoy your time-off knowing that that you have done your best to make your property safe from criminals or from potential incidents.

Avoid incidents in the home

• Make sure the gas is turned off.
• Turn the water off at the mains stopcock.
This is normally located in your kitchen or in the under stairs cupboard. This ensures that should you have a water leak or a burst pipe whilst you are away, the water will eventually stop.
• Unplug mains sockets and TV aerials from televisions, videos, computers and any electronic equipment that does not need to be left on.
Not only will you save money on your electricity bill, but such items will be protected from lighting strikes, as the aerial could receive a substantial charge if lightening hits.

Engage the help of a friendly neighbour

At a minimum, let a trusted neighbour know that you going to be away. You could ask them to keep an eye on your house and help make it look lived-in whilst you’re away. Promise to do the same for them in return.

Ask the neighbour if they would be willing to help with the following:
• push post and junk mail completely through letter box, rather than leaving it visibly stuck half-way through
• open and close curtains
• switch on lights in the evenings
• collect post
• mow the lawn
• park their car or their visitors cars on your driveway.

They may also be willing to water plants and look after pets.

Postpone deliveries
If you don’t want to rely on a neighbour then cancel any milk or paper deliveries for the duration of your holiday, and make use of Royal Mail's letter and parcel holding service.

Put lights on a timer
Putting lamps on a timer is an excellent way to give the appearance that someone is at home. These simple and useful electronic devices can be used to set particular times at which the lights go on and off. Why not use them all year round?

Basic precautions before departure
Before leaving on your travels it is worthwhile taking extra care to run through the following checklist:
• Ensure that all doors and windows are locked securely, and any burglar alarms are set.
• Never leave keys near the letterbox or doors
• Don’t leave keys on window handles or on window ledges
• Make sure ladders and tools are locked away, out of sight.
• If you have valuable items in the shed, such as bikes or tools, then it might be a good idea to store them in the house over the holiday period.
• If there are any items of particular value in the house, such as important confidential documents, and you don’t have a safe, then it is worth leaving these things with family or in a bank safety deposit box.
• Leave a key and/or contact telephone number with a trusted neighbour or nearby friend or family member. In case of need, they will be able to access your property and contact you.

Now all you have to do is enjoy your holiday knowing that you have taken necessary precautions before leaving. Have fun!

(Note: this blog has also been posted on the following sister blog sites: http://www.maintainingproperty.co.uk/ and http://www.thepropertystylist.co.uk/)

Labels: ,

08 June 2009

Landlords should ensure they use a legitimate tenancy deposit scheme!

Many landlords and other property professionals have recently been made aware of online sites which are offering tenancy deposit schemes, but which, unfortunately, are not government authorised.

Landlords, and agents, should be aware that if they use non-official companies to hold tenant deposits, then they are not complying with regulations and may be subject to significant fines.

The Government has awarded contracts to only three companies to run tenancy deposit protection schemes. Find out more information about these companies and the schemes at Directgov.

Find out how Chez-Vous HomeSearch can help you with property finder and relocation services.

Labels: , ,