Caffery, Oubre, Campbell & Garrison, L.L.P.
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Do U.S. homeowners have a home maintenance problem?

There are many important home maintenance and upkeep tasks for homeowners. How good are American homeowners at properly maintaining their home? A recent survey indicates that many such homeowners fall short on this front.

In the survey, a group of homeowners were asked about various home maintenance tasks. The results indicated that many of those surveyed neglected some key home upkeep steps. Among the maintenance tasks the results suggest are commonly overlooked by U.S. homeowners are:

  • Having the furnace regularly inspected and serviced. Over half of the individuals surveyed indicated that their furnace is inspected/serviced less than once a year.
  • Cleaning sump pumps and pits. Of the surveyed individuals who had such a pump, 44 percent said they don’t do such cleaning unless a problem comes up.
  • Caring for gutters and downspouts. Twenty-four percent of the surveyed homeowners indicated that they never do this.
  • Monitoring roof condition. Of the polled individuals, 23 percent said that their roof is either only inspected when problems come up or never inspected at all.
  • Cleaning out clothes dryer ducts. Never doing this is something 21 percent of the polled individuals admitted to.

Why does how good of a job homeowners are doing at home maintenance matter? Well, home upkeep failures, like the ones mentioned above, could increase the chances of accidents occurring which could damage the home and the things in it or potentially hurt or kill the home’s occupants.

Also, the level of home upkeep of homeowners could have insurance implications. Given poor home maintenance’s capacity to up the chances of mishaps happening at home, how good homeowners are doing when it comes to the upkeep of their home could have impacts on the number of homeowners insurance claims out there.

Also, some of the types of home damage poor upkeep can open a home up to are types typically not covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy. So, poor upkeep-related home damage could possibly open the door to contentious coverage battles between insurers and policyholders. When in such a legal dispute, an insurer may want to go to a skilled insurance defense lawyer for advice and help.

Why do you think overlooking some key maintenance tasks is so common among U.S. homeowners? What do you thing could best help in improving the upkeep habits of such homeowners?

Source: Houston Herald, “Survey highlights people’s poor home maintenance habits,” Nov. 22, 2016

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