Christmas Property Care List

Once again the Christmas and New Year break is fast approaching and most people cannot understand where the year has gone. There is a last minute rush to get everything organised and in the rush, some important tasks can be forgotten.

Firstly, please do not forget that a cold spell could hit at any time and so if you are responsible for any empty properties it is essential that the water systems are drained and the supply turned off in order to avoid burst pipes and leaks. Secondly, opportunist burglaries tend to rise at this time of year, so ensure that doors and windows are securely locked, particularly in properties where the occupants have only gone away for a few days or weeks. Thirdly, enjoy the break. If you are a landlord, try to ensure that your tenants have an emergency number to call for essential repairs over the break that is not yours! The alternative is that either you will get a call yourself on Christmas morning or they will find their own emergency contractor who will apply a significant surcharge for works over the festive period. Finally, the most common and annoying problem in modern homes now seems to be condensation. Caused by damp moist air hitting a colder surface, this is exacerbated by double glazed windows kept shut to keep out the cold air, drying clothes on radiators, baths and showers, together with kettles and boiling saucepans where there is no extractor fan in the bathroom and kitchen. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles and the emphasis on retaining heat within a building, rather than allowing ventilation and air circulation mean that any property can be affected. However, increased education on the causes can reduce or even completely stop the problem.

A clear set of guidelines for tenants is essential, this could be attached or included in any Tenancy Agreement. A landlord can also help by fitting trickle vents to windows and extractor fans where necessary and ensuring there is adequate heating and if possible somewhere outside the property to dry clothes. In addition, using thermal paints or similar in kitchens and bathrooms can be helpful. Where black mould has appeared, this will need to be wiped down with a mild bleach solution.  If condensation is a consistent and recurring problem and you are sure that the occupants are following all the guidelines, then you will need to contact a specialist for advice. Further measures to remedy the situation can include fitting air bricks, an air circulation unit or a dehumidifier.

If you would like to discuss any point raised above or any other property related matter, then please contact Harcourts on 023 8063 7438, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or check our website at www.harcourts-property.co.uk for initial free advice. Our experience and continued professional development in the property market means that we can provide practical advice and a service which means your property is in safe hands.

Hoping everyone has a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

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