Managing Property Risks in Autumn/Winter

Released On 1st Nov 2021

If you think that autumn and winter only carry the usual slips and trips risks, think again. Prepare for the following seasonal risks

Although seasonal changes can be a breath of fresh air, they also carry a variety of risks for landlords and building managers, posing the potential for liability disputes. Legislation such as the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act of 2007 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 hold you accountable for maintaining a safe property.

If you think that autumn and winter only carry the usual slips and trips risks, think again. It is important to understand and prepare for seasonal risks—like package and post theft due to festive season online shopping, and fire hazards from fairy lights—by implementing proper risk management techniques.

Understanding Seasonal Risks

Whether it be autumn leaves or winter snowfall, be sure to consider the following seasonal risks:

Leaves, Snow and Ice Risks

  • Slips, trips, falls from slippery surfaces
  • Risk of falling icicles
  • Blocked passageways, cars, car parks, building entrances and exits from excess snow or ice or leaves
  • Damaged pipes and gutters from snow or leaves
  • Injury from working at height to clear roof and gutters of excess leaves or snow
  • Exterior damage from tree branches or the roof itself collapsing under the weight of snow
  • Flooding due to melted snow and ice

Extreme Cold Risks

  • Frozen or burst pipes
  • Temporarily halted water supply
  • Tenant and hotel guest illnesses due to poor indoor heating system or insulation
  • Heating system failure or breakdowns

Communal Area Risks

  • Fire hazards from candles or kitchens in lounges
  • Fire and electricity hazards from festive lights or decor, inside (the lobby) and outside (the garden)
  • Package and post theft, which generally increases during the festive season
  • Increased third-party liability due to tenants’ festive season guests
  • Blocked entrances and exits from festive decor, winter accessories (such as snow boots or umbrellas) or excess rubbish
  • Damaged floors in communal areas from tenants tracking in dirt, snow and salt

Implementing Proper Risk Management

Keeping these seasonal risks in mind, it is important to use risk management techniques to counter potential hazards and decrease the chance for liability issues