Press release

3.2 million homes 'ticking timebombs' of maintenance issues

  • Two in five (40%) homeowners are stressed out by cost of home maintenance to-do lists and one in five (18%) are losing sleep with worry
  • Problems are particularly pronounced in period properties
  • LV= launches a ‘Home MOT’ interactive guide to help homeowners manage their home maintenance

According to new research from LV=, one in five (18%) homeowners believe their home is a “ticking timebomb” of maintenance problems – equating to 3.2 million homes across the UK[1].

Three-quarters (77%) of property owners have experienced a maintenance problem in their current property and a third (34%) have had to fix several issues in the last 12 months. This percentage is even higher in period properties[2], which are significantly more likely to have multiple issues that need fixing each year[3].

The average homeowner spends more than £1,850 a year on home maintenance while those with period properties spend over £2,460. It’s therefore no surprise that four in ten (40%) homeowners are worried about how they’ll afford to pay for the maintenance of their home and one in five (18%) are losing sleep over the matter.

Half (48%) of homeowners say they don’t have the knowledge or skills to do maintenance work around the house and, worryingly, nearly a third (31%) admit they have put off essential maintenance in the last year. Two in five (42%) homeowners say they wait until an issue becomes an emergency before fixing the problem.

The most common issues faced by homeowners include problems with double-glazing (19%), issues with gutters and drainpipes (19%), and out-dated wiring (18%). Period homes are more likely than average to have issues, with a quarter (24%) of period homeowners experiencing issues with out-dated wiring, and one in five (20%) reporting problems with mould, compared to 13% of those with more modern properties.

To help homeowners stay on top of their home maintenance, LV= is today launching a free, interactive ‘Home MOT’ tool. The tool highlights common maintenance issues, early warning signs and offers tips on when to check up on problematic areas. LV= has also produced a calendar to help keep track of issues throughout the year with tips on when to make repairs.

Selwyn Fernandes, Managing Director of Home Insurance at LV=, said: “Keeping up with home maintenance can be a tough and time-consuming job, so it’s understandable that many homeowners might ignore problems or put off important work.

“Our Home MOT guide is designed to help homeowners understand the most important maintenance tasks and provide advice on how to tackle them. It’s important to keep on top of maintenance as ignoring problems in the home can lead to more serious issues developing, and damage from wear and tear is typically not covered by home insurance.”

To try out LV=’s Home MOT for yourself visit

LV=’s Top Tips:

  • Spend 10 minutes each year taking a walk around the outside of your property to look for anything leaning against exterior walls, which can lead to damp, as well as ensuring there are no loose roof tiles and gutters are clear.
  • You can avoid common issues like mould and condensation by making simple changes: dry all your washing in the same room with the heating on and window open, make sure you air rooms regularly, and even just cooking with saucepan lids on.
  • Check grouting and sealant around baths and showers regularly – the ageing of these materials is a common cause of water damage.
  • You don’t have to do it yourself – many handymen can help out with re-painting or gardening at a fraction of the cost of a professional.
  • Check your plumbing and wiring periodically and have your boiler serviced annually – paying a small amount for this check-up could save you thousands in the long run.
  • Keep a folder with details of all your suppliers and dates of work so all the information you need is in one place.
  • Period houses are more likely to have wear-and-tear related issues, but don’t be complacent – modern houses can experience the same issues.
  • Ignoring issues can cost more in the long run so don’t wait until it is a bigger job - there are quick, easy and cheap fixes for many of problems.
  • Unexpected maintenance issues are bound to crop up so it’s worthwhile having a small pot of savings put aside, so it’s not too much of a financial shock.
  1. According to figures from the England Housing Survey 2014-2015, there are 14,757,000 in England. There are 1,476,000 owner occupied dwellings in Scotland, 973,578 in Wales and 469,100 in Northern Ireland. Of the total 17,675,678 owner occupied houses in the UK, 18% worry about their house being a ‘ticking timebomb’, therefore 3,181,622 homeowners are concerned about their properties.
  2. Period property is defined as those built before 1945: Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco.
  3. 45% of period homeowners said they have had to fix several maintenance issues in the past 12 months, in comparison to 28% of homeowners with more modern properties.
  4. Research reveals that the average owner of a period property spent £2,464.21 on home maintenance in the last 12 months, in comparison to £1,600.79 spent by those in non-period properties – a difference of £863.42.

Most common maintenance issues

 Common issues for period properties (pre-1945)
 Common issues for modern properties (post-1945)
 Out-dated wiring (24%)
 Problems with double-glazing (19%)
 Broken/blocked guttering and/or drainpipes (23%)
 Out-dated heating system or gas fittings (18%)
 Defective plasterwork (22%)
 Broken/blocked guttering and/or drainpipes (17%)
 Mould (20%)
 Poor quality lawn/soil (16%)
 Peeling paintwork (20%)
 Out-dated wiring (15%)
 Condensation (19%)
 Condensation (15%)
 Problems with double-glazing (18%)
 Hairline cracking, minor movement or settling (14%)
 Hairline cracking, minor movement or settling (18%)
 Bad taste decorating by previous homeowners (14%)
 Inadequate insulation (18%)
 Mould (13%)
 Leaks in pitched roof/missing tiles (18%)
 Fencing/boundary issues (13%)





Notes to editors: 

LV= commissioned Opinium Research to conduct the Home MOT survey between 23 and 28 September 2016. The survey took a nationally representative sample of 3,021 UK adults, 1,857 of whom were homeowners. 573 of those homeowners owned period properties, while 1225 owned properties built after 1945.

About LV=

LV= employs over 6,000 people and serves over 5.8 million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK's largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We are currently the UK's number one brand for Insurance and Investments, according to the 2015 YouGov Brand Index Buzz Rankings.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trade unions.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.
Lloyd Purnell
Senior Press Officer (General Insurance)
020 7634 4433
07500 835885