Property owners 'should approach DIY with caution'

by Sarah Ashcroft

Owners of property portfolios looking to carry out improvements on their buildings before renting them out to residents or businesses may want to hire out professional help in order to ensure that they do not damage the constructions.

This is according to Anna-Marie DeSouza, editor of Build It magazine, who said having the right insurance policy in place is a must for anyone who is considering tackling the tasks themselves without being suitably trained.

She said it is often surprising the number of people who have simply wanted to update a room by painting it, but have accidentally dropped the pot and ruined the flooring - something that can cost hundreds of pounds if their cover is out of date.

For larger jobs, Ms DeSouza claimed, homeowners could cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to their property without the right insurance in place that could leave them unable to rectify the problem without protection.

Her comments were made after Halifax reported that while 63 per cent of people say they carry out their own improvements to save money, a quarter of householders do not know whether their cover will ensure that they receive assistance for accidental damage, while one in ten have no landlord insurance at all.

While more than three-quarters of householders claim they would be confident enough to tackle painting and half would attempt to put up shelves, only 11 per cent said they could fit a new kitchen and five per cent are willing to fit a new gas fire themselves.

Ms DeSouza said: "Most policies will cover items such as flooring, soft furnishings and maybe sanitary ware. If you are carrying out structural work you will definitely need to check your policy.

"Unless you are a professional in the field you shouldn't carry out any electrical repair or upgrade work, you won't get cover and work can be illegal."

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Published on: August 24, 2012

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