The colder, darker months, combined with festive activities, bring a number of extra risks that tenants need to be mindful of over Christmas and into the new year.
As well as making sure you keep yourself and your belongings safe, it’s important to remember that you have a responsibility to look after your rented home. So, here are the top five things to think about and steps you can take to give both you and your property the best chance of making it through the winter without incident.
Be extra vigilant around fire safety
Fire is one of the most potentially deadly risks in a home and that risk is heightened in winter due to the need to keep warm and the popularity of festive lights and candles. With that in mind:
Make sure your Christmas tree isn’t a hazard
According to research from Electrical Safety First, one in eight Brits use tree lights that they know are in bad condition, one in three decorate trees with bauble tea lights, and more than half of those who have a real tree don’t water it.
For a Christmas tree that’s as safe as possible:
Keep the property secure
Rented properties are around two-thirds more likely to be targeted by burglars than owner-occupied homes, and burglaries peak around December. So, at this time of year:
Sources: https://www.ntu.ac.uk/about-us/news/news-articles/2019/02/research-reveals-best-burglary-deterrents,-and-identifies-those-most-at-risk / https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/lifestyle/a41802330/burglaries-winter/
Bear in mind that if a burglar has managed to enter the property without having to break in, that is likely to invalidate both your own and your landlord’s insurance policies.
For more information and advice on keeping your rented home secure and what to do if you are burgled, see our recent article.
Minimise the risk of burst pipes
When water freezes, it expands, which can crack pipes. Then when the ice melts, the water escapes and that can result in a property flooding. Hopefully, your landlord will have had all the pipework lagged to insulate it from the cold, but even that doesn’t eliminate the risk entirely. So, when the temperature outside dips below freezing, it’s important to have the heating on low and also try to keep the water moving in the property.
Let your landlord or agent know if you’re going away
If you’re going to be spending time away from the property over the festive period – or any other time over the winter – let your landlord or agent know. If there is a cold snap, a storm or heavy snowfall while the property is vacant and there is any damage, it might not be discovered for several days. But if the landlord or agent is aware that you are away, they can make the necessary checks.
However, even with the best preparation for the winter period, accidents can still happen. That’s why it’s well worth considering taking out tenant insurance to cover you financially. To get a quote and read our full tenant policy, visit our tenant insurance page or you can call the team on 01903 890044 to discuss your requirements.