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Winter responsibilities

Landlords and tenants should ensure they are fully aware of who is responsible for what before the onset of winter.

Most tenancy agreements require tenants to take such reasonable and prudent precautions expected of a householder, particularly between and including the months of November to February, by heating the premises to prevent damage by frost or freezing. 

To this end Charlotte George MARLA, Senior Lettings Negotiator of Balfours Property Professionals is urging landlords to make tenants aware that if they are planning extended periods away they should always remember to leave heating on at a low level, which should stop the possibility of freezing damage to the plumbing and heating systems, prevent condensation and mildew and mould growth. 

Charlotte says, “The most effective way to achieve this is not to have the heating on for one hour in the mornings and evenings, but to leave it on permanently, with the boiler output thermostat set to low or min and the room thermostats set to  around 12C. Radiator valves should be left fully open, and any thermostatic radiator valves turned up to max.

However if the tenant is out daily, they should ensure that the heating is put on for a period of time in the evening – the easiest thing to do is to set the timer/thermostat.  This will ensure pipes do not freeze and avoids damp in the property,” she adds. 

With additional heating comes an increased risk of fire. New legislation that came into effect on 1st October this year requires private landlords to install smoke alarms in all rented properties on every floor of their property. Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms are also required in any room which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance, for example a wood burning stove, an open fire or a solid fuel Aga.

Charlotte explains: “In the first instance the alarms are the responsibility of the landlord, but on handover tenants should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order. ‘Test it Tuesday’ is the day Balfours and the Fire & Rescue Services recommend that smoke alarms are tested.”

She concludes: “Keeping a house or flat in good condition is particularly important in winter, areas of responsibility do need to be clear to avoid both misunderstandings and costly repairs, neither of which the landlord or tenant want.”

 

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