Callum Ward, 15 November 2019
We’re coming to the end of 2019 and entering the winter period, which means icy cold days and nights for all. As a tenant it’s very important to understand your responsibilities when it comes to maintaining your rental property throughout the festive period. Tenants who fail to take precautions and prepare correctly for winter could be held liable for any damages caused to the property during the cold weather. In order to help you avoid this, we’ve compiled 5 top tips for tenants this winter:
Know your landlords contact details
A surprising number of tenants nowadays don’t actually have their landlords contact details. This is imperative throughout the winter period so that you have a point of contact in case anything goes wrong. If your property is managed by letting agents make sure you have your contacts emergency out of hours number and if not ensure you haeve contact details for your landlord, it is your legal right to know who your landlord is and his/her contact details. If something goes wrong or damages occur to the property over the winter you need to let your landlord or letting agency know immediately, this way the issue will hopefully be resolved quickly.
Be aware of potential flooding
The weather can be awful throughout the winter period, especially in the UK. Heavy rainfall can occur over the holiday period, so it is important that you are prepared for potential flooding. Check your exterior overflow pipes to ensure there is no freezing that could lead to pipe blockages and flooding, this can be caused a lot of the time by residents leaving their home for a period of time and leaving the heating off, causing pipes to freeze. Be sure that if you do go away you keep your heating running even at a low temperature. If you do notice anything be sure to report back to your landlord. The flooding can damage both the rental property itself and some of your own personal belongings, so make sure that you have contents insurance and that it covers water damage.
Don’t neglect the exterior
We mentioned in our last point how important checking the exterior overflow pipes on your rental property is, and the same goes for a number of aspects throughout the property’s exterior. Be sure to check all external pipes (garden taps, overflow pipes etc) and even consider insulating them to decrease the risk of damage – simple foam insulation on outside piping can help massively. Another area of a property to check is the roof. You want to ensure that there are no tiles dislodged or cracks that have appeared, especially after windy weather.
Be prepared for power cuts
Winter weather can often cause power cuts for a large number of residents, so as a tenant it’s important to be ready. As soon as you experience a power cut check the UK Power Networks website to see what is happing and keep up to date with the current situation. It could also be beneficial to contact your utility provider to see if there’s anything they can do to help.
This seems like the most obvious of all the tips in this article, but it is absolutely the most important. Some things you can do to ensure that you can stay warm in your home includes making sure all of your central heating and radiators are in good condition, draw you curtains and blinds to keep as much heat in as possible, keep your thermostat at a constant low heat for a more effective and less expensive way to keep the property warm throughout the day and night and closing doors - just to name a few.
Need more advice? Why not download our tenant guide for free here!
Callum Ward, 15 November 2019