Christmas is all about spending time with friends and family, whether at home or away.
As a tenant, if you plan on leaving your property empty during the festive period, we have compiled some Top Tips for Tenants, that you should bear in mind before setting off.
These will hopefully ensure you come back to the property you left, and not a seasonal nightmare.
If you are going away:
- Firstly, look at your tenancy agreement to check if you need to let your agent / landlord know that you will be away. Some tenancy agreements ask that you let your agent / landlord know if the property is going to be left empty.
- If you hold an insurance policy, check that also to see if it has any conditions written into it about leaving your property empty.
- Security is super important. This is a prime season that thieves are most active, so ensure all doors and windows are secured to prevent easy access into your home. If you are still lucky enough to have milk or papers delivered, make sure you cancel these so that you don’t announce to the world that you’re not there.
- Also, don’t leave valuables on view through windows and doors. Be especially vigilant with car keys and never leave them where a canny burglar can see them.
- Hook lamps, televisions or radios up to timer switches to come on in different parts of the house at different times of day.
- Don’t announce on Social Media that you’re going away!
- Safeguard your property as much as possible by unplugging all unnecessary electrical appliances. You obviously need to leave your fridge and freezer running but unplug all small electrical appliances, particularly your Christmas lights.
- Burst pipes and water damage are no fun so take precautions to prevent this happening. We used to advise having the heating come on twice a day but the perceived wisdom now is to have it on constantly at a low temperature. Turn your boiler’s output thermostat to “low” or “min” and the room thermostats to 12 degrees. Open the radiator valves fully and the radiator thermostat turned to “max”. This is good advice whether you’re at home or away if the forecast is for freezing weather.
- Ensure that your neighbours / relatives have emergency numbers. If you don’t have these already, enquire with your landlord / agent so that these are up to date and leave them with a responsible person. A neighbour who is having Christmas at home is a good bet as they will be on the spot should anything go wrong and need urgent action.
- Don’t help would be burglars by leaving items that could be used to break in to your home on view. Lock away ladders and wheelie bins if possible or put them in a place that is not obvious. If there is side access to your back garden, ensure those gates are locked.
- Property mark your belongings and register them at www.imobilise.com. This is a free service.
Here are some general tips, if you are staying at home or going away:
- Check your smoke alarm: This should be done routinely but check it again to ensure everything is in working order.
- Inspect your Christmas lights each year to ensure they are in tip top condition. Discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders or loose connections. If you are replacing bulbs, be sure to use the correct voltage and wattage. ALWAYS turn your Christmas lights off when you are leaving the property or going to bed.
- If you are using outdoor lights, never use more than one extension lead to make things reach. Do this with one long lead and ensure that it is adequately protected from damp and water. Use only those lights that are specifically designed for outdoor use.
- Be careful with fires and candles. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without candles but make sure that candles and fires aren’t left unattended. Even if you are in the house, don’t leave a room for hours with lit candles. It may sound draconian, but it is better to be safe than sorry!