What’s the most common reason for landlords finding themselves in hot water and needing to make an insurance claim?

The answer, according to one insurance company* at least, is ‘escape of water’. This term covers everything from burst pipes and defective washing machines to leaky loos and dripping taps.

In a recent report, the firm revealed that 35.5% of all claims paid to landlords were related to water damage.

And while most claims totalled a few thousand pounds**, some were for much, much more. (Spare a thought for the landlord who had to claim £145,000 after a slow leak in the bathroom rotted the floor of the entire building.)

So, what can landlords do to reduce the risk of leaks, burst pipes and other water-related damage?

Here are some top tips.

  • Encourage tenants to report problems as soon as they notice them so you can rectify them promptly.
  • When carrying out inspections, don’t forget to check for leaks, including subtle signs such as marks appearing on the ceiling. Be particularly vigilant if you have an ageing property.
  • Replace washers on dripping taps.
  • Remember that when pipes freeze, they’re more prone to bursting. Cover pipes in outdoor areas and colder parts of your rental with lagging to prevent this.
  • At the start of a tenancy, show your tenants where the stopcock and fuse box are located. If there’s a leak, they should turn the mains water off at the stopcock. Once they’ve done this, they should switch off the electricity supply.
  • If you have an old water storage tank, insulate it with a ‘hot water jacket’.
  • Keep gutters and drains clear of leaves and debris.
  • Schedule your annual boiler service in your calendar so you don’t fall behind.
  • If a tenant is going away on holiday, ask them to turn off the stopcock. In winter, suggest they programme the heating to come on each day to prevent the pipes from freezing.
  • Ensure your landlord insurance is up to date.


If you’d like to learn more about how we can help manage and protect your property, contact us at Cleeve Residential today.

* Source: Total Landlord insurance.

** The average burst pipes claim through Total Landlord insurance was £2,596 between 2019 and 2023.