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You and your tenants need to be vigilant over the festive period

Christmas is almost here and there is a good chance that your tenants may be going away over the festive period, leaving your property empty and therefore vulnerable.

To help ensure that your property remains protected, there are a number of measures that you and your tenants could take to keep your property safe while the occupants are away.

According to Upad, landlords should advise their tenants to check the functionality of locks, not only on main doors and windows, but also on sheds and garages, as bikes are often the number one choice for festive felons.

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Tenants should also be told to ensure that valuables are kept out of sight so that they are not actively advertising the property to burglars.

You or your tenants may wish to consider installing timers for lights and lamps so that it looks like someone is at home.

It may also be wise to ask your tenants if you or a representative can enter the property if their plan to be away for an extended period.  That way, post can be taken in, curtains can be opened and closed, and a vehicle can be seen to be at the property. 

James Davis, CEO of Upad.co.uk and himself a portfolio landlord, said: “It’s easy to get carried away with the festivities and rush to visit family and friends once work is finished, but almost all tenants will have committed, as part of their tenancy agreements, to look after the property they live in and simply, by not being prepared for any period of absence, they can leave themselves at risk of not fulfilling that responsibility.

“We always advise tenants renting through Upad to inform their landlord if they plan to be away for any length of time over Christmas so that the landlord can then make arrangements for the property to be checked if necessary.”

Landlords also need to be vigilant in order to protect their investment.

Davis continued: “We recently discovered that almost half of all private landlords are failing to carry out routine property maintenance on their rental properties before the winter sets in.  Whilst many may feel that they can get away with this, it’s at Christmas when the property may be left empty or tradespeople are less easy to get hold of, that you really need to pay due consideration to the physical functioning of your investment.

“Ensure that tenants don’t completely turn the heat off whilst they’re away as this could lead to burst pipes.  You may need to negotiate a very small rent reduction to cover the heating costs whilst they’re away, but it’s a small price to pay to avoid the disruption of a leak – especially when tradespeople are likely to charge a premium.

“Also make sure that they know when the stop tap is and periodically enquire that there are no niggly maintenance issues that could escalate. From a safety perspective, meanwhile, it’s worth reminding your tenants to be aware of fire hazards at this time of year.”

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