What Landlords Might Want To Know…
During the Christmas season, you will be relaxed with your mulled wine and mince pies, with your property at the back of your mind.
However, as you are at rest, your properties will be hard at work, continuing to host its occupants and fight the harsh Christmas weather.
Your homes may still need repairs over the holiday season.
Christmas time repairs and problems you need to be aware of:
Leaking roofs, holes in the ceiling
According to the Federation of Master Builders, 86% of builders have been called out to fix a leaking roof over winter and was the most common Christmas disaster.
Holes may be discovered in your ceiling when tenants are venturing into the loft for Christmas decorations.
You are advised to make sure your roof is in good order to prevent any leaks by checking for debris and identifying any mould or pests. It’s also important to ensure that your guttering and downpipes are not blocked, cracked or compromised. Tenants can have a good route around when scrounging around the loft for baubles.
Decorative fire hazards
Roasting chestnuts by an open fire, surplus candle gifts and overloaded electrical outlets with festive lights are all fire hazards. Carbon monoxide alarms and smoke and heat detectors are relatively cheap compared to the cost of a blazing inferno as a result of fire. Tenants are advised to turn those fairy lights off when in bed or out, try and limit the use of extension cables and don’t overload electrical sockets. Fake candles are cool these days and a much safer alternative to a naked flame.
A broken boiler during the winter months is far from ideal, especially if you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to have a ‘white Christmas’.
Get your boiler serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure it’s all working correctly to wish your tenants a warm Christmas message.
Seasonal thieves (make sure house is secure)
As a landlord, you must ensure your property is safe and secure over the Christmas period as thieves will try their luck to steal expensive new gifts left in an empty home. It is vital for both parties that the property is locked and monitored accordingly. If you are lucky enough to be in a Selective Licence area, this is one of the licence conditions that you have to adhere to.
Tenants may be elsewhere for a prolonged time over the holidays, as they visit their families to celebrate.
You can communicate with your tenants to be aware of how long the property will be unoccupied. This can be done by simply sending them a warming Christmas card.
Other notable problems and important repairs:
- Leaking chimney
- Blocked gutters
- Burst pipes
- Leaky Doors and Windows
Obligations Landlords must apply to
There are also obligations landlords still need to remember to apply to despite the break.
For example, you will need to apply to selective licensing (if your property is covered by the licensing) which is a scheme that requires most private rented properties to be licensed.
This means the council can check whether they are a “fit or proper person” to be a landlord, as well as making other stipulations concerning management of the property and appropriate safety measures.
“Landlords with unlicensed rented properties can face a financial penalty notice of up to £30,000 or an unlimited fine from the court. You could also have control of your unlicensed properties taken away from you and be ordered to repay up to 12 months’ rent to us or your tenants.” (Source: Nottingham City Council)
You will need to check if your property is in a selective licensing area. Nottingham city landlords can do this by typing in the address of their private rented property via the link: https://geoserver.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/myproperty/
If you are a landlord who does not privately rent a property in the Nottingham city council area, you will need to see if your council operates a similar scheme or licence.
It is even more important during winter that landlords apply to safety standards set by the HHSRS. You can view the blog on excess cold and the 29 hazards here:
You must also make sure your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is lawful. Landlords are not permitted to rent out any property that has an EPC that is under an E rating. The minimum energy efficiency standards make it unlawful to let out private rented properties with an EPC rating of F or G. It is rumoured that this will be reduced to C in the not-too-distant future, so you might want to get ahead of the curve and look at what you can do to improve the EPC on your property. It may be as simple as improving the loft insulation – of which you might get a grant, or even changing the light bulbs to more efficient ones.
Landlords must also fulfil any of the repairs mentioned earlier in the article.
Last but not least, don’t forget to inform your tenants how they can get hold of you, or your appointed person over the holiday period if they have any repair and maintenance issues. Do they have 24/7 contact information for any emergencies? Let’s hope they don’t have any whilst you are chilling with family, friends and your favourite tipple.