As winter draws in and Christmas approaches, landlords will naturally start to worry about the traditional problems at this time of year; rent arrears and cold weather. This week’s caller was concerned enough to be proactive about it.
The member called us, concerned that his tenants were likely to leave the house unattended over the next few weeks. The property was a student let on a joint tenancy and all 3 students were set to go home to visit family over Christmas.
We asked the landlord if he was regularly visiting the property to check the communal areas as part of his HMO Management Regulation requirements. He confirmed that he was but on a fortnightly basis and he was not sure exactly when the tenants would be going away and he was concerned about burst pipes.
We advised him that the best course of action would be to send our winter letter to the tenants. This letter sets out a number of obligations on the tenant making them aware of exactly what they need to do prior to leaving the property. This includes things like always leaving the heating on at a low heat, and informing the landlord when they will be away from the property for more than 24 hours.
We also advised the landlord to step up their inspections. Not just because of it being winter but also because he is obligated to maintain the communal areas as part of his HMO management requirements. This would have the happy side effect of giving him more reason to check that the pipes weren’t in danger of bursting if the tenants ignored the winter warning letter.
Once the landlord had been directed to the letter on our site, he went away to send it to his tenants, satisfied that he now had a plan of action.
Rupinder Aujla, LAT Manager said ‘We are always happy when we can help a member before an issue occurs. Good communication and forethought can help make sure that a small problem doesn’t become a disaster for landlords.’
- Have a read of these top tips on how you can prepare your property for winter weather
- Have a read of our interactive Safe and Secure home tool for more tips on how you can keep your property secure.
- If you’ve got further questions relating to winter maintenance of your property and you are an RLA member then you can access unlimited one to one advice either over the phone or online.