30th September 2017
Following on from last week’s article, here are more tips on getting your property ready for winter:
1. Secure your property
If the tenant will be away for a period of time over the winter months, they must ensure that the property is fully secure. Simple measures such as ensuring all windows and doors are locked will deter opportunist thieves, while setting a light on a timer within the property can be an effective additional security measure.
2. Check the gutters
Most good tenancy agreements have a clause requiring tenants to unblock gutters, and to pay the costs of removing any obstruction or the damage caused by any overflow.
3. Check your insurance policy
Most insurance policies and tenancy agreements state that the insurers and agent must be informed if the property is to be left empty for more than a specified number of days (normally 30 days). We as agents offer an “empty property check” for a small fee. If the property is vacant pending reletting, the insurance policy will require the landlord or agent to maintain minimum temperatures or drain the water system, and inspect the property regularly. Each insurer has different conditions – please check the policy carefully.
4. Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
On 1st October 2015, a new law came into place requiring private landlords to install smoke alarms in all rented properties, on every floor of their property. Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms are also required in any room which is used as living accommodation, and which contains a solid appliance e.g. wood burning stove or an open log or coal fire. A test is required on them at the start of every tenancy. The landlord is required to check that smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms are in proper working order on the day a tenancy begins where there is a new tenancy. If the tenants were in occupation prior to 1st October 2015, the landlord must still install the alarms. After the landlord’s test on the first day of the tenancy, tenants should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order.
For any further help or advice on this matter please feel free to contact our office.
Don’t forget if you have a burning question that needs answering then email me, and you may even get published in next week’s Agony Agent.