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18 January 2012
Home owners risk letting their homes fall into disrepair
Austerity measures are causing many home owners to risk letting their homes fall into disrepair, according to research from the AA’s Home Emergency Response Service.
In the past year, over 18.5 million Britons (39%) have delayed home repairs or maintenance or tried to fix things themselves to save money.
These delays and cost-cutting attempts have left homeowners with a collective bill of almost £1.2 billion, as one in five (21%) of those delaying or scrimping on home maintenance have experienced problems or unforeseen costs as a result.
In the past year 14% of people have carried out some DIY work on their home that they would previously have employed a tradesman to do, and 11% have had friends round to help on a DIY project for free.
8% of people have delayed getting their boiler serviced and the same number has delayed paying to have work done in the garden. Another 5% have put off replacing or repairing a damaged window and 4% have delayed mending a leaky or damaged roof. Some 2% have held off checking or replacing damaged locks.
However, around 3 million of these cost-cutters suffered problems as a result of their austerity measures, spending an average of £398 each trying to rectify them. Only 5% of those suffering problems or unforeseen costs were covered by their standard home insurance policy and only one in five (19%) had home emergency response policies that covered the cost.
Some 8% of those who had delayed work suffered a home emergency such as a leaking roof or a broken down boiler because they did so, and 7% subsequently needed to call a tradesman to deal with it. 3% of those who tried to economise on home maintenance ended up having to call a tradesman out to rectify DIY work they had botched.
Many homeowners seem to be mirroring the government’s drive for austerity but this can be a false economy as problems tend to get worse in the home if you leave them unresolved
Tom Stringer, head of AA Home Emergency Response
Tom Stringer, Head of AA Home Emergency Response, said: “As the struggling economy continues to hit people in the pocket, more and more people are putting off home maintenance and are letting their homes get into a state of disrepair. Many homeowners seem to be mirroring the government’s drive for austerity but this can be a false economy as problems tend to get worse in the home if you leave them unresolved.
“Home emergencies can prove expensive if homes are not maintained properly. We would suggest that apart from keeping up their home maintenance properly, homeowners should look carefully at their home insurance policy and consider a stand-alone home emergency policy for peace of mind if they are not adequately covered.”
(24 February 2012)
Research was carried out by ICM amongst a GB representative sample of 2,026 adults between 3rd and 5th February 2012.