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This winter proofing your rental property guide is for tenants who are currently renting a property. By making sure you look after the property over the winter months, the property will be less likely to suffer from any problems during the winter months and mean you have less reason to bother the landlord or management agents with any issues that would have otherwise cropped up. Treating the property as your own whilst you’re living there is all part of renting and means you’ll be more likely to see a full refund of your deposit at the end of the tenancy.
1. Don’t ignore the small print on your tenancy agreement
Check your tenancy agreement for your responsibilities for ongoing maintenance of the property. Usually this will mean that you are required to do small maintenance to the inside of the property, such as the decoration, central heating (bleeding the radiators) and so forth. If you’re leaving a property vacant for any amount of time over the winter months, most agreements will reference a tenant requirement totake adequate measures to protect the property from issues likefrozen pipes in colder weather.
2. If you live in a student house or rent with friends, decide on responsibilities
If you rent the property with other people and plan to leave the property vacant forany period of time, ensure that the last person to leave preparesthe house for the unoccupied duration. Taking steps to clearout fridges/freezers and turning off electric devices at the wallcan help prevent problems while you’re away. Since most deposit repayments will be shared evenly at the end of arental term, it is well worth ensuring everyone knows what needs tobe done. This will reduce the chance of deposits being held due toa lack of preparedness.
3. Keep the property heated
The most effective way of heating a home will vary fromproperty to property. Tenants who plan any extended periods away shouldalways remember to leave heating on at a low level whilst they are away. This will help to prevent pipes from freezing during the cold spell and will help to prevent any internal dampspreading within the property. In addition to this, if the hot water tank is in the loft, leaving the loft hatch open will allow some warmer air to circulatearound the tank.
If you do not leave heating on you may be well advised to turnoff the water and drain the system. If this is your preferredcourse of action you are likely to need to get a qualifiedtradesman to carry this out.
4. Get to know your neighbours
Getting to know your neighbours can be worthwhile, not only to make you feel a sense of community but also to share an emergency contact phone numberwith. Your neighbours could get in touch with you or the property’s landlord or managing agent, if there is one. This willspeed up access to the property in the event of something like apipe leak and is particularly important in flatted properties,where an issue in one flat could rapidly cause problems for otherhomes in the block.
5. Keep the property secured
If you plan to be away from the property for a long period of time over the winter months,make sure your rented home is fully secure before you leave. The last thing anybody wants to do is come back to an empty house emptied of your expensive electrical items. Simplemeasures such as ensuring all the windows and doors are locked willdeter opportunist thieves, while setting a light on a timer withinthe property can be an effective additional security measure.
Lastly, treat the property as if it were your own as the last thing you or your landlord wants is the annoyance of a broken down boiler or burst pipes within the property. Taking care of the property throughout the tenancy will mean you’ll be in a much more likely position to see a full repayment of your deposit