Despite some 28% of home owners professing to be home maintenance enthusiasts, almost a third say they only have the skills to carry out basic cosmetic improvements, such as painting or grouting, lacking the confidence to undertake even straightforward maintenance which could prevent problems such as damp in the longer term, says the research from Halifax Home Insurance.
Home owners in Hartlepool top the list of towns and cities with housing in disrepair followed by Wrekin in Shropshire. The report showed that home owners in Aberdeen keep their properties best maintained, while Peterborough came out on top in England, and Newport in Wales.
The report reveals that home owners are more likely to have carried out aesthetic DIY work such as painting or decorating and assembling furniture rather than tackling bigger home maintenance issues such as cleaning gutters and repairing fittings or cracks.
The research also examined home owners' attitudes to DIY and found that 70% prefer to tackle simpler tasks than more complex ones. Some 23% admitted they ask for their parents' help with maintenance jobs, while 23% admit to having ignored a serious home maintenance task in the past.
Home owners' main reasons for neglecting maintenance work included being too busy, cited by 41% while 36% said they did not have the right tools and 29% were frightened of causing injury to themselves or others , with women nearly twice as worried as men.
In the past five years, home owners have spent an average of £5,841 on home improvements to their properties. More than one in 10 have spent over £10,000, with one in 20 having splashed out over £20,000.
‘We all invest a considerable amount of time and money in our homes, so it's worth making sure this investment is adequately protected, yet more than a quarter of people are unaware of what is and isn't covered by their home insurance policy,’ said Martyn Foulds, senior claims manager at Halifax Home Insurance.
‘By failing to properly maintain the property, home owners risk invalidating their insurance policy, potentially running up hefty bills if something goes wrong as a result of neglect,’ he warned.
According to television’s DIY expert Ben Hillman making a number of small maintenance checks throughout the year can save home owners both time and money, and ensure their home is well maintained.
‘For example, it can cost £40 to have gutters cleaned, whereas replacing damaged gutters can cost over £550, and even more in terms of hassle. Cosmetic quick fixes are often the popular choice but a lack of awareness may lead home owners to avoid problems that could have a more serious impact,’ he said.
‘With older properties comes a greater need to maintain, and the research found that three quarters of properties are over 20 years old...