How available should I be over Christmas?
We are only a couple of sleeps away from the big day, so it’s understandable that you’d ask.
While many of us can take advantage of the bank holidays this festive season, there are many who can’t take time off. Key workers in emergency services, for example, are unable to take the entire break off, as they are needed.
The same goes for landlords, unfortunately. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to ensure that your tenants are safe and warm in your property over the festive period. Should there be a flood or a boiler breakdown, you need to be available to take that call.
It’s unlikely that that will happen, but make sure that you have your phone on loud and within earshot – just in case!
Be prepared for problems
Make sure that you have Home Emergency Insurance. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times, but winter is the time when there is most likely to be damage to your property. From floods and leaks from roofs damaged by storms to burst pipes and boiler breakdowns, now is not the time to be uninsured!
If the worst does happen and you get a call over the holiday from your tenant, at least if you are covered you can jump straight into action. It might not be ideal, but it will be a lot easier if you are already prepared.
This is also the time when your tenants are most likely to be burgled, due to the darker evenings, so be sure to remind them to get contents insurance, just in case.
Remind your tenants
We always encourage you to keep lines of communication open with your tenants, so if you know that they’re going to be away visiting family for Christmas, give them a few reminders to make sure that the property is left safe and secure:
- Double check that all windows are closed and locked
- Drawing the curtains can keep warmth in, but don’t draw them all as this will make the house look empty and more appealing to burglars
- If there is a security system, make sure that it’s set
- If they’ve emptied the fridge freezer so they can turn it off and save money, make sure they’ve turned it off in plenty of time for it to defrost. If it does so while they’re away, they’re likely to come back to a small flood and floor damage
- Put the heating on a timer, so that the pipes don’t freeze. The coldest hours are in the early hours of the morning, between 3am – 5am, so this is a good time to have the heating go on
- Put the boiler on a ‘frost’ setting, if it has it
- Unplug and turn off everything that doesn’t need to be left on
If you and your tenants take sensible precautions to care for the property over the winter months, it’s unlikely you’ll be disturbed during your Christmas dinner – but don’t put your phone on silent, just in case!