From Robert Ulph on December 23, 2021
With the festive season now well and truly upon us and friends and families hopefully able to keep their plans to see each other, we know that homes may be more vulnerable as they are left empty.
As a landlord or tenant it is especially important to have a clear understanding of what is whose responsibility when it comes to security and protecting your home. There may be formal clauses included in rental agreements, so it is an idea to check if there are any requirements, for example, to notify a landlord if the property is to be empty for a length of time.
So, to avoid any issues and protect your home in the coming days, here are some useful tips is it worth reminding ourselves about.
An empty home in wintertime, even for just a few days, is vulnerable to frozen pipes so do what you can to avoid any issues with burst pipes and the damage, inconvenience, and cost these incur. You may want to adjust your heating to ensure a low, consistent heat during any particularly cold spells. Keeping a consistent heat is better than using a timer where heating may be off for most of the time so the house cools down. Look out for signs that a pipe may have frozen, such as weak water supply, or strange smells from taps or drains. Check pipes for frost on the outside as this will also indicate that the water is frozen inside.
From a security side, general common-sense practice is worth a reminder, especially at what is such a busy time of year. But cancelling milk and newspaper deliveries is useful, as well as asking a neighbour to keep an eye on your home, and even put bins in or out if required.
Setting lights on a timer is helpful too and close any blinds slightly to obscure views into the home.
Check all locks are working correctly, including window locks which might not be used on a regular basis. Equally check any alarm system is working and set, and the same with security lighting.
If possible, consider taking any highly valuable or sentimental items with you – and obviously remember to take equally good care of them if you do, especially if you wouldn’t ordinarily have these items with you.
In addition, it is good to exercise caution as to what you reveal about your plans especially on social media. It is worth reminding those new to social media that while they feel their comments and posts are 100% private, it might not always be the case so look to avoid ‘shouting about’ a potential empty home.
I do not mean for any of this to cause worry, but I hope this has been useful as I wish you all the best for a happy and safe time and as always please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further advice.