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The long, hot summer days continue and whilst many tenants may decide to ‘staycation’ because of the heat, there are a few things landlords and tenants need to be aware of.
Summer holidays away leave the property vulnerable. Landlords should make sure that tenants are using as much security as is available in the property. Is there a burglar alarm and is it being used? Check with your tenants. Remind them that the tenancy agreement should say they should be advised if they are away, so you can make occasional checks in their absence. Ask them to get someone to go in the property to remove any newspapers or mail, which will alert potential burglars of an absence.
Make sure they use window locks; perhaps (if you haven’t already done so) provide some timers to use on lights so it appears there is someone home. It may be worth advising the tenants to allow a neighbour to park a car on the drive, again to mislead anyone watching for an opportunity.
‘Staycations’ can bring their own problems. Perhaps it is the tropical temperatures, but we tend to become more laid back; we leave doors and windows open and pop next door for a glass of wine/beer/cider. It’s nice to be sociable, but this leaves the property vulnerable if basic security is not used.
Remind tenants to warn their children – don’t leave bicycles or sports equipment at the front of the property on summer days – many thefts are opportune; the light-fingered may not have gone out with the intention of stealing, but if temptation is put in their way, they will not even try to resist.
Remind your tenants that whilst living an outdoor life is healthy and enjoyable, lengthy and noisy barbecues on summer days could lead to neighbour nuisance. The answer – invite your neighbours and be aware of what is reasonable behaviour. Reasonable behaviour is even more important if the neighbours do not want to join in the fun. If there has been a major disagreement, then it is unlikely that an invitation, no matter how gracefully worded, would make anger and hurt disappear. What is likely is a report to the Police about noise, which would effectively spoil the atmosphere.
Discuss the issue of barbecues; make sure they are safely located, away from sheds or trees or anything else flammable. Large parts of the North-West have had the moors on fire for weeks so care must be taken with open flames.
Final point – the summer days bring with them nuisances in the form of bees, wasps, ants. Ask tenants to check their lofts to make sure that wasps and bees have not chose your property as the next des.res. Their structures can be enormous, paper-like creations. Speak to your local authority for help with pest eradication. There is nothing a tenant could do to avoid a swarm, so it is the responsibility of the landlord to get the pest removed.
Ants can be attracted by sugar and crumbs, but even the most scrupulously clean tenant can find these unwelcome visitors in their kitchen. Unless you are certain that the tenant has made no effort to keep the kitchen clean, they really cannot be held responsible, so get them some ant powder, though if it is a serious infestation, professional help will be required.
The glorious weather is to be enjoyed, no-one wants a spoilsport landlord, but advise tenants to enjoy it cautiously; when the summer days end, it should be with happy memories, not threats of eviction for anti-social behaviour; not with children having had expensive bicycles stolen; not with burglaries because your tenant’s back was turned briefly.
For advice on buy to let issues – Ask Sharon