Property Management

Call of the Week-Protecting property from winter damage

Call of the week

As the temperature gets a lot cooler, now is a good time to start thinking about how to prepare your property for winter.

Winter weather can lead to issues such as burst pipes, which can cause a lot of damage to a property and cost you, the landlord, a huge amount of money.

Taking care to prevent damage like this happening now could save you money in the future.

Our landlord who called up this week is a relatively new landlord, who is just starting out with letting out their first property.

They joined the RLA  so they could speak to the Landlord Advice Team and get an idea what they needed to do to be on top of their responsibilities.

We advised this landlord that the absolute best way to learn about his responsibilities would be to sign up to one of our training courses.  In particular, he was advised that the principles of letting course would make a great foundation on which to build as a landlord.  Of course, LAT were also happy to help him prepare for his first tenancy over the phone.

The problem

During the course of the initial phone call, it became clear that the tenants who planned to move in, were likely to be away for an extended period of time during the winter months.  As a young professional couple with no children, they were likely to visit family over Christmas, but they had also been telling the landlord about a holiday they planned to take in February.

We suggested that the landlord should consider taking steps to make them aware of their obligations to act in a tenant like manner to prevent pipes bursting.

The landlord is of course responsible for keeping the structure and exterior of the property (including pipes) in good repair.  This comes from section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.  However, he can expect the tenant to do the little things around the house that any normal tenant would do such as keeping the heating on at a low level to prevent the pipes bursting.

Of course, sometimes tenants know nothing about this, and may need to be reminded of these responsibilities. We suggested he prepare a letter outlining the tenants responsibilities in this regard and mailing it to them before the weather got too cold.

The landlord was not confident about this however.  As a new landlord he didn’t feel that he had the grasp on the legislation to write the letter and he asked us to write it for him.  As it seemed like something that would be useful for all our members, we agreed to produce one for him and decided to upload it on our site for all our members to use.

Rupinder Aujla, LAT Manager, said ‘winter is coming and landlord should prepare for the cold.  We are glad we can help by providing this letter, but if you do suffer a burst pipe we’re always here for more advice.’

Find out more
  • The RLA run a ‘Becoming a Landlord‘ course for new landlords of those who are considering becoming landlords.
  • The RLA also offer several guides on Repairs, which explain whether a repair is a landlord or tenants’ responsibility.

About the author

Landlord Advice Team

Landlord Advice Team

On-demand phone support from the RLA Landlord Advice Team is a big feature of RLA membership and is seen by many of our members as the most important service we offer. You can call the Landlord Advice Team in total confidence and be assured that the advice you'll receive is friendly, pertinent, up-to-date and practical.

Access to the RLA's Landlord Advice Team is FREE for all RLA Members.

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