Christmas considerations for landlords & tenants

November 4, 2016

We are fast approaching the festive season, and for landlords, this can throw up some issues specific to the time of year.

1.  Preparing the property for the harsher weather

Blocked gutters and burst pipes are just two of the issues that affect properties in colder temperatures.  Prevention is a lot less expensive and stressful than cure, so we’ve put together this infographic to help you prepare your property.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Increased fire hazard

Most tenancy agreements state that tenants should not use candles, but at Christmas, it’s prudent to send your tenants a reminder about fire safety in the home.

Candles, fairy lights, flammable decorations, and overloaded electrical extensions can all increase fire risk during the festive season.

This additional information from the Fire Service:

How to Stay Safe at Christmas

Christmas is a special time for celebration and should not end in tragedy because of the extra hazards that are present at this time of year.

The following advice should be used in conjunction with other sections of the site, such as the candle fire safety page, due to the fact that candles are also used more and more at this time of year.

Fairy Lights

  • Check the fuses are the right type (see the box for the maximum size of fuse you should use).
  • If bulbs blow, replace them.
  • Don’t leave fairy lights on when you go out or when you go to sleep.
  • Don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, like paper.
  • Don’t overload sockets.

Decorations

  • Decorations made of light tissue paper or cardboard burn easily.
  • Don’t attach them to lights or heaters.
  • Don’t put them immediately above or around the fireplace.
  • Keep them away from candles.Full/source article

3.  Rental arrears

December/January are peak time for rental arrears due to, like all of us, tenants struggle to balance their finances with all  the demands of extra spending that Christmas entails.

Of course, this is not an issue for our Guaranteed Rent landlords, meaning they can enjoy a relaxing festive season, knowing that the rent will be paid, even if the tenant goes into arrears.

4.  Landlord/tenant relations

Christmas tends to be one of the most stressful times of the year as people rush about trying to get ready, prepare for the arrival of family and friends, or to go away visiting others.

Landlords should bear this in mind when dealing with tenants around this time, as they may be overly stressed.  Be empathetic and understanding if people are a little snippy!

Some landlords give their tenants a Christmas gift.  Whilst it is an admirable thought, it does depend on the landlord’s individual relationship with the tenant and, giving a gift can blur professional relationship boundaries, so, if you feel you have a close relationship with your tenants and want to acknowledge a smooth-running tenancy, why not send them a Christmas card to show your appreciation?

5.  Security

Christmas is a peak season for burglaries because many people go visiting, or they have expensive new gifts in the house.

6.  Noise Abuse

Christmas get-togethers can get a little rowdy at times, and neighbours may be affected by excessive noise.

What can a landlord do to ensure a happy Christmas tenancy?

Our advice is for the landlord to create a short leaflet about potential issues over Christmas and send this to the tenant in late November:

This could include:

1.  A reminder of where the water stopcock is, in the event of burst pipes.

2.  A reminder of fire safety in respect of candles and fairy lights.

3.  A polite reminder of the date when the rent is due in December and a request, that, if the tenant is going to struggle to pay the rent, they should get in touch to discuss.

4.  A reminder that, if tenants are going away over Christmas, they should secure the property and close the blinds and curtains. Or perhaps get an automatic timer that turns lights on and off.

5.  A reminder to be respectful of neighbours when having a party and turn the noise down after 10.00pm.  This is important, as, if the Local Authority Noise Abuse officer is called out more than once, they can force the end of the tenancy!

6.  The emergency number to contact in the event of a water leak, or boiler breakdown, or any other property maintenance issue.

Of course, a fully managed service with ourselves means that we deal with all these issues and the landlord can simply relax and enjoy the festivities!

Find out more about the different levels of service we offer >>> here.

Northwood is one of the largest and most recognised estate agents in the U.K. and the leading supplier of Guaranteed Rent to give landlords complete peace of mind.

Find us on Twitter @northwoodUK or visit our YouTube Channel.

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