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The Simple Landlords guide to Christmas

Christmas may be the season to be jolly - but it’s also the season for holiday visits and unoccupied properties, and lots of conveniently boxed-up goodies under twinkly trees.

All that means some of the jolliest people around Christmas are actually burglars.

What’s more, extra lights, Christmas candles and other decorations can all potentially impact your property - so if you’re a landlord it’s well worth getting ready for Christmas a little early!

Here’s our Simple Guide to Christmas, in 25 easy steps.

Setting expectations

1. Consider sending your tenants a Christmas card or email with some simple reminders about Christmas safety. It’s the season of goodwill, so you might also add in a box of chocolates!

Security

2. Remind tenants to close curtains, keep expensive presents hidden until Christmas Eve.

3. Remind tenants their contents are not covered by your insurance!

4. Install external lights and motion sensors, and check they’re working.

5. Ask tenants to let you know about any Christmas trips, so you know if and when the property is going to be unoccupied.

6. Provide light timers so tenants can set them when they’re away or late home.

7. Check window and door locks for wear and tear, and to make sure they’re actually being used.

8. If you’ve got an alarm, check it’s working, and check tenants know how to do that, too.

Fire

9. LED fairy lights are pretty safe, but it’s still worth asking your tenants to turn their Christmas lights off at night.

10. It’s also worth checking they’re not using ancient lights from Christmases past!

11. Watch out for overloaded extension leads - it might be worth an inspection, or part of your Christmas card checklist.

12. Remind tenants not to hang stockings or other decorations over any fireplaces or other appliances.

13. Make sure you specify that any candles or naked flames are never left unattended, and are not placed near soft furnishings or curtains.

14. You should also check your smoke alarms, and other fire safety equipment in the run up to Christmas - or ask your tenants to do so.

15. Make sure tenants are not using any extra heating appliances that haven’t been provided by you and PAT tested.

Utilities

16. Christmas can be heavy on the utilities. For most tenancy agreements this will be the responsibility of your tenants, but there are cases where bills might be included in the monthly rent - for instance in some student accommodation. Consider installing a smart thermometer, and put a cap on heating bills so anything over a certain amount has to be made up by the tenants.

Decorations

17. Make sure your tenants know what sort of decorations are allowed, or at the very least know to ask you first. Are you happy for them to decorate the roof? Nail a wreath to the front door? Put lights up around the outside the house? Install an inflatable snowman on the front lawn?

18. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Blu tac marks on the walls from holding up paper chains are part of general wear and tear, and might be worth it if you’ve got happy, reliable, long-term tenants who treat your property as their home.

Insurance

19. It’s well worth using Christmas as your opportunity to check your insurance policy, and know exactly what you’re covered for, and what you’re not.

20. If you’re not going to be around over the Christmas period, consider taking out a home emergency policy so anything that does go wrong in your property can be dealt with swiftly.

Optional extras

21. Clear chimneys, to avoid sooty footprints on carpets.

22. Consider clearing alternative Santa Access Routes - eg. cat flaps or cooker extractor fans.

23. Check your roof tiles after Christmas for potential sleigh damage.

24. If you have a ‘no pets’ policy, please hang a sign on the chimney, to avoid reindeer infractions.

25. Happy Christmas!

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