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Dealing with Emergencies


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CoR's post about his tenants calling out a locksmith in an emergency got me thinking about emergencies in general. Here is what I do to minimise the chances of an emergency becoming a complete disaster.

What 'Emergencies' is a landlord likely to face.......

Broken Locks & Lost Keys......Apart from my tenants and myself I always make sure there is at least one other person available who holds a key and is local to the property. That way access can be gained in an emergency or if tenant locks themselves out/ looses key/ I'm on holiday etc. Providing contact details to the other key holders of a reliable handyman who can repair/ replace broken locks is a good idea. 

Fire......It's mandatory to provide a smoke alarms on every floor. It's also worth providing a fire blanket and a small fire extinguisher neither of which are expensive.

Water Leaks.......I always make sure that the hot & cold stop taps are clearly labelled and that the tenants know exactly where they are.

Heating Failure in winter......I provide the contact details of a reliable repair guy to all other key holders.

Hot Water failure......If it's an electric immersion heater with dual elements it's not really an emergency as there is a second heating element that can be used until a repair can be arranged. 

Then there are the really rare items like broken windows & storm damage......which are normally covered by insurance. Having a second and if possible a third person who holds keys and can effect or arrange repairs in your absence is always useful.

Other than those I can't think of anything else that could be described as an emergency i.e. something that needs immediate action. 

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Fitting  numerous isolation valves on the plumbing is worthwhile doing as well as most tenants can use a screwdriver to switch one on or off if needed. 

Also a short guide on emergencies defining what one is and what to do/call can help.

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I have one of those coded push button key safes attached to the wall with the spare front door key inside fitted to two of my properties. They have been used twice in around 10 years for tenants with lost keys. All my properties are only 5 minutes drive away anyway so it's not really a problem for me.

Water isolating handles are painted white and are shown to the tenant where to switch off in an emergency but where I could do this I fitted the later design lever valves with the red handles. I repeat the location exercise when I carry out 6 monthly property checks.

My Son ( Plumber and Heating engineer) and Daughter take over when I am away on holiday and I inform all my tenants of this and provide contact numbers.  Fortunately I have never had a problem when away.

Be prepared is the key to minimise future mishaps. 

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If its a genuine emergency most people with a bit of common sense know what to do. 

fire=fire brigade

Water leak=turn water off

Break in= Police

Power cut= candles

Locked out= locksmith  and expensive lesson to learn about leaving a key with a friend and being more careful.

Followed by a call to the letting agent in the morning.

Though I did have a very stroppy emergency call at  7pm xmas eve one  year because of drafty windows. Mrs Grampa took great pleasure in dealing with that call.


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As Melboy I've fitted the Pegler isolation valves to many of my properties. Turn 90 degrees and they're off, a much more positive and reliable isolation than the screwdiver type. I've had too many of those weep.

But along the lines of T's having responsibility for the properties in which they reside I think it reasonable for them to be expected to take responsible action in the event of situations that require pro active responses. We have discussed here previously that T's shouldn't expect hotel type service. So protecting our investment is the priority. Part of that is of course protecting our revenue, the T's, where it isn't OTT.

In my specific case, and a reasonable example, the 'euro' lock failed. A rare event, and while possible, wouldn't normally fail w/o some prior warning. In truth I would expect this to be the result of the frame shifting / settling and the mortice no longer moving freely. But he hasn't rung so I don't know. The rents are due so it'll be interesting to see if he has the confidence to adjust the payment.

Anyway, in my years I have had a few failures, usually boilers. Gas engineers may or may not be available and we aren't likely to pay a retainer for 'guaranteed' service so we are at the mercy of the engineer, tradesmen to respond if they feel. Last week a smell of gas, 3 weeks after a gas inspection, and that tradesman was on holiday for 2 weeks, so down the list to the next.

My point is that while we don't want to inconveience our T's they have no more rights than any householder. As these did they use the phone and find a tradesman in my absence. This £200 or whatever will be excessive for the one call out but for my many years of LLing isn't a big deal, and my sailing is important to me, when opportunity allows.

This w/e (plus a bit) it's Yachty time, Llanddwyn, Rhosneigr, Holyhead, Cemaes and last night likely to be Moelfre, all depending on wind direction. I hope my T's have a good w/e, I'm sure they deserve it.


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My ultimate goal is to move to North Wales permanently. Then spend most of the winter in Spain & the summer in the UK. I enjoyed my few days holiday on Anglesey last year.

Welsh property is attractively priced compared to my part of Essex, it's about in the centre of the UK which makes visiting anywhere relatively easy and it's got all the sports facilities anyone might want. I'm hoping to pick up a small castle with the sale proceeds of my house in Essex.

Have a great time CoR.

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Thanks for the wishes.

Angelesey being easy to get to would depend on your route, but the most obvius is off the M6 and then M56 / A55, it's still 2 hours(ish) from the M6, and the timing of the use of the A55 can make a drastic difference to the journey time and frustration, but that's pretty usual up and down the country really.

I want to explore the bottom of the M5 possibilities a little more, it may have greater onward exploration possibilities.

The w/e didn't work out as planned. Saturday night we anchored at Llanddwyn with 6 more club members, bor BBQ on the beach. Our throttle mechanism had issue so I spent till midday Sunday reapiring that. The rest had gone on round the island but we didn't plan to continue to their chosen location anyway.

Crew didn't feel confident to go forward and mutineed so we sailed back to Baumaris for more repairing Sunday. Monday was out to Puffin Island for breakfaast at anchor, then on to Llandduno for a nosey there and round the Gt Orm. The only worthwhile wind all w/e was on returning down the Menai. Force 4 / 5 and crew not over happy at me enjoying a yacht actually sailing for a change as it heeled significantly and required a fair amount of tacking to stay within channel(ish).

The rest of the club got less wind then we did as it turned out.

We've 9 dysa planned out again mid September, going south if the wind permits, the continual engine drone isn't my preference.

Anyway my T paid his rent in full so no issues there. So now I'll ask for his receipt and offer to pay half, if the receipt is actually £260. If it's a more reasonable £130 or so I'll pay all.


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