Christmas trees are being squashed through front doors, lights are being untangled and tenants are locking up and heading home – the festive season is well and truly upon us! But landlords, don’t get comfy with a mince pie and a brandy just yet, here are our top tips for a merry little Christmas.
Driving home for Christmas
Christmas is a busy season for burglars, so if your tenants are going away and leaving the property empty, make sure to remind them to secure the home properly. That includes closing all doors and windows, and even asking the neighbours to keep an eye out for you.
Shine bright, dazzle dazzle
For added security, it may be worth setting a timer so lights come on at random if your tenants are away for an extended period of time.
I'm gonna be warm this winter
As a landlord, you’re responsible for the maintenance of gas appliances, ensuring they’re kept in a safe, working condition. It’s usually at Christmas that boilers start playing up, so it’s worth checking the heating system is in order before things get really chilly.
Keeping heating on zero during a cold spell can cause damage to your heating, so if your tenants are spending Christmas elsewhere, it’s advisable to programme the heating to come on for an hour a day.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Make sure that tenants avoid fire risks and unplug electrical appliances – including Christmas lights – if they are heading home for Christmas. (This doesn’t include large appliances like the fridge or freezer!)
If your tenants are hosting Christmas at their rental property, ensure all alarms are in working order – not just for the turkey’s sake!
This year, to save me from tears…
Landlords should ensure regular checks are carried out on boilers, showers and washing machines by qualified tradesmen. During the winter period, we advise all our landlords to ensure all pipes and tanks exposed to cold temperatures are well lagged. If your tenants are away for a long time, it may even be worth turning the stopcock off to minimise the chance of a water leak.
Finally, if you’re jetting off to sunnier climes or retreating to the parents’ place, make sure the tenants have someone to contact – like a managing agent – if they are staying local. There will always be a tenant who loses their keys after a festive Christmas do – so having somewhere nearby where spare keys are held is advised.