This time of year of my most exciting time of year!  I love the festive period and dressing up in my Christmas Jumper and eating mince pies – delightful!  It’s a great time and everyone is thinking about their Christmas Dinner, getting the family together and opening their gifts.  But this means that lots of people will be packing up their homes to meet up with family and therefore leaving their homes vacant over Christmas and New Year.  This is important to consider if you are a Landlord as your rental home could be being vacated for a couple of weeks and with Christmas ultimately comes the potential for bad weather be it snow, or icy conditions.

So, with this in mind I have put together a list of top tips for my Landlords this Christmas.

1. driving home for Christmas… Christmas is a busy season for burglars, so if your tenants are going away and leaving the property empty, make sure to remind them to secure the home properly. That includes closing all doors and windows, and even asking the neighbours to keep an eye out for you.

2. shine bright, dazzle dazzle… For added security, it may be worth setting a timer so lights come on at random if your tenants are away for an extended period of time.

3. its going to be warm this winter… As a landlord, you’re responsible for the maintenance of gas appliances, ensuring they’re kept in a safe, working condition. It’s usually at Christmas that boilers start playing up, so it’s worth checking the heating system is in order before things get really chilly.

Keeping heating on zero during a cold spell can cause damage to your heating, so if your tenants are spending Christmas elsewhere, it’s advisable to programme the heating to come on for an hour a day.

4. chestnuts roasting on an open fire… Make sure that tenants avoid fire risks and unplug electrical appliances – including Christmas lights – if they are heading home for Christmas. (This doesn’t include large appliances like the fridge or freezer!)   If your tenants are hosting Christmas at their rental property, ensure all alarms are in working order – not just for the turkey’s sake!

5. this year, to save me from tears… Landlords should ensure regular checks are carried out on boilers, showers and washing machines by qualified tradesmen. During the winter period, we advise all our landlords to ensure all pipes and tanks exposed to cold temperatures are well lagged. If your tenants are away for a long time, it may even be worth turning the stopcock off to minimise the chance of a water leak.

6. silent night!  Finally, if you’re jetting off to sunnier climes or retreating to the parents’ place, make sure the tenants have someone to contact – like a managing agent – if they are staying in London. There will always be a tenant who loses their keys after a festive Christmas do – so having somewhere nearby where spare keys are held is advised.

If you have any Christmas concerns or are thinking about having your property managed by a local agent then please do contact me for lettings and/or property management advice on 0161 474 8668.

Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!