As you know, you can never fully switch off from your responsibilities as a landlord, whether that be taking on new tenants, completing deposit disputes or making sure your property is kept in good condition over the festive period. There are a couple of things you can do to make sure your properties are in order, ensuring the safety of your tenants and hopefully a stress-free Christmas for you.
Are your tenants leaving the property over Christmas?
Our adjudication team received a lot of claims earlier this year following the severe winter weather in 2010. The majority were the result of burst or frozen pipes at student houses where tenants had left the property to spend Christmas with their families.
In the worst cases seen by our adjudicators over the years burst pipes have resulted in damage to carpets and flooring, kitchen appliances needing replacing and claims for lost rent whilst damage is repaired. Some landlords have faced repair bills of several thousand pounds.
To avoid this stress and expense, you should contact your tenants if they’re going away to ensure that the proper measures are taken to avoid this kind of damage.
The AIIC has issued some guidance on keeping your properties safe during cold spells:
› Insulation – Ensure water pipes and tanks are lagged and insulated.
› Heating – Advise tenants to keep the heating on, at a min. of 15 degrees, if they’re going away. It’s also sensible to open the loft hatch allowing air to circulate and prevent pipes freezing and bursting in the loft.
› Boiler servicing – Ensure that gas and oil boilers are serviced every 12 months.
› If the property is going to be empty for an extended period it’s sensible to have the heating/water system drained by a qualified contractor.
› Chimneys – Ensure they are swept once a year by a professional chimney sweep, ideally before the tenant starts using the fire.
› Smoke Alarms – Check that smoke alarms are fitted in all properties and that they are all working properly. Replace batteries as necessary.
Be aware of evidence submission deadlines
If you’ve currently got a deposit in dispute then don’t forget to stick to your evidence submission deadlines. The DPS is not extending any deadlines but is making allowances for bank holidays so if you’re concerned about a deadline then get in touch so we can see what we can do for you.
Our Christmas opening hours
If you’re taking on new tenants over Christmas or the New Year you can submit deposits at any time online. If you need assistance our contact centre opening hours are:
Friday 23rd - 8:30am – 4:00pm
Tuesday 27th - CLOSED
Wednesday 28th – 8:30am – 5:30pm
Thursday 29th – 8:30am – 5:30pm
Friday 30th - 8:30am – 5:00pm
Monday 2nd - CLOSED
Finally, a very merry Christmas to you from everyone at The DPS!