With winter well and truly on its way, now is a good time for all tenants to start thinking about how they can protect their landlord's property as the temperature drops.
If you'll be living in a rental property this winter, follow these ten top tips to make sure that you look after your home and keep your landlord happy!
The central heating in your home could be left on permanently at a minimum temperature of around 15°C (or 65°F) during the winter, to help protect the property from damp and condensation. If you don't prevent damp and condensation, you may be faced with harmful black mould – your landlord will work to protect your health and home, but you should also take measures to avoid damaging effects of the cold weather. Leaving the heating on will also help to stop pipes freezing and causing burst pipes.
While cosy winter nights are ideal for having friends round, what many landlords will encourage is having family, friends or neighbours visit your home when you're away. This way, they can turn lights on/off and open/close curtains to make the home looked occupied, but also make sure that the property is safe. Your landlord may even offer to do this for you.
If your home is going to be empty for a period of time, it is a good idea to leave the loft hatch open slightly, to allow some warm air into the roof space to circulate.
A good way to keep heat circulating around your home is by opening the internal doors. This is particularly useful if you are going away, but will also help to keep the property warm while you're in it – you may even cut down on heating costs by allowing the warm air to circulate more effectively.
If you don't already know, find out where your water stopcock is, either by checking any property manuals you may have or asking your landlord. It is important that it is easy to turn off and is accessible, in case of an emergency. Always turn your water off if you find a leak and inform your landlord as quickly as possible.
A really easy way to ensure that warm air reaches hidden pipes is by leaving your bathroom cabinet doors and kitchen cupboards open. Landlords note that this is particularly useful if you're going on holiday over the Christmas season.
It is really important that you let your landlord know of any plans you have to go away over the winter period, as your home is particularly vulnerable at this time of year. They may want to visit the property over your holiday, which you should allow. Remember that your landlord may have written certain clauses into your tenancy agreement that require you to take specific precautions in the winter.
With the terrible weather experienced last year affecting many people's homes, it is a good idea to keep some emergency lights (such as torches) in your property in case the electricity goes down. These will help to keep you safe, especially if you have children.
As a tenant, it is your responsibility to bleed the radiators in your property. This will not only help to prevent winter-related boiler problems, but will also allow the radiators to heat up efficiently, which could save you money on your utility bills and will make sure that you're toasty in your home!
If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a property emergency this winter, such as flooding, always remember to contact your landlord as soon as possible to inform them of the damage. If they have a good Landlord Insurance policy in place, they should be able to arrange alternative accommodation immediately, so that you stay safe and warm until the property is habitable again.
This post was written by Just Landlords, a specialist provider of award-winning Landlords Insurance.