With the Christmas period upon us, it’s easy to get bound up in the preparation for the big day, but as a tenant you should also take steps to make sure that your rental home is kept safe and secure over the festive period. Whether at home and entertaining or away with friends or family, there are steps that you should take as a tenant to make sure you maintain your responsibility to look after the property in a tenant-like manner.
· If you’re going away:
Ensure your property is secure.
As well as making sure all doors and windows are securely locked, you may also want to consider using timed lighting switches to give the impression that you are at home.
Don’t post that you’re away on social media
Although it’s nice to share your trip with family and friends, posting on social media can also advertise to potential burglars that your home is an easy target.
Unplug any non-essential electrical equipment
Unplugging small electrical items not only reduces the risk of fire, but will also save you money on your energy bills.
Leave the heating on low
Heating the property to at least 13°C can help prevent burst pipes if cold weather hits.
Let a trusted neighbour know who to contact if something happens to the property
It might be your own contact number, that of your letting agent or landlord. Know what the arrangements are for someone to gain access in an emergency, for example whether your letting agent holds a key for the property.
Remember that you are responsible for the behaviour and actions of any visitors as well as yourself
This includes abiding by laws relating to noise and nuisance behaviour as well as being responsible for any damage to the property, whether caused accidentally or maliciously.
Know who to contact in an emergency (and what is deemed to be an emergency)
Do you know who to call if there’s no heating or hot water over the Christmas period? What about if you lose your house keys and your letting agent is shut? Do you know of there’s a home cover plan on your boiler and the number to call if it breaks down? What about if you suspect a gas leak? Having these details to hand can help guide you if you experience any issues over the holidays. And if you’re unsure, now is the time to check with your letting agent or landlord.
Emergencies refer to issues that affect your health and safety in the property – such as having no heating or water or damage to the building making it unsafe. It does not cover inconveniences, such as having part of a cooker stop working. Any contractor call-outs that are not an emergency may be chargeable to you as the tenant.
Don’t place presents under the tree if they can be seen from outside the property
Again, this can be an advert to burglars that your house may be a worthwhile target. You want Santa to be the only person coming into your property in the middle of the night.
Check your smoke detectors
These should be checked regularly and as part of your responsibilities as a tenant, the batteries should be routinely changed. Christmastime can be an ideal reminder to do this and can give you the best chance should the worst happen.
Ensure you have insurance
As a tenant you have a responsibility for any damage to the property as well as for your own items and belongings. Tenants Liability Insurance covers you against accidental damage to the furniture, fixtures and fittings, whilst Tenants Contents Insurance covers you for your own items. Don’t assume that your landlord’s insurance will cover these things.
Hopefully by taking steps to keep your home safe and secure, however you’re spending the festive season, you can enjoy a peaceful time. At Brittons, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and New Year.