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Keeping Christmas Festive, Warm and Secure

Friday December 14, 2012

Chair of Joy at Christmas with Santa at Heaton Property
Chair of Joy at Christmas with Santa at Heaton Property

With the festive season almost upon us this is a busy time for lettings and property management agents as we try to make sure our landlords and tenants enjoy their holiday without any sort of drama. The steps we take to make this happen can equally be applied by home owners. A little forward thinking and goes a long way towards providing peace of mind and preventing the nightmare of trying to find a plumber on Christmas Eve.

Our fixed management fee means somebody is at the end of the phone 24-7 over the holiday period for landlords and tenants. But the plan is, the phone doesn’t ring because we have undertaken preventative maintenance during December.

A big problem last winter was freezing condensation pipes from the central heating boiler which would shut the system down. The risk of this happening is lessened if the pipe has been correctly installed but the ideal solution is to fit a ‘trace heating kit’. This is a small electrical element which keeps the pipe warm and so prevents a freeze up. The kit can be bought for under £100, uses a tiny amount of electricity and provides peace of mind whatever the weather throws at us.

While we know our properties intimately and have a full list of equipment installed, this is not much use if the tenant does not know where the cold water and gas stop cock or the fuse panel is. So we will take the time to make sure they do know, and that they know what to do in an emergency.

A quick check of the exterior of the property is time well spent. Could accumulated Autumn leaves wash into a storm drain and block it? Are there any overhanging tree branches that need attention? Is there anything in the garden that could blow around and annoy people? Are tenants aware of changed bin collections over the holiday?

We have arrangements with our maintenance crew to provide continuous cover right through Christmas and new year. For home owners who do not have such a facility it is worth calling your plumber and electrical to find out what cover they will provide over the holiday.

At Christmas our work begins around the time everyone else is winding down. We will be writing to all our tenants offering advice and of course, that all important emergency number. Much of this advice is common sense. Don’t leave boxes that have contained high-end electronics out by the bins. If you notice excessive condensation on the inside of the window, call us now rather than wait to see if it clears up. If you are going away for Christmas double check that you have switched everything off then let us know when you are away so we can keep and eye on the property for you. Naturally we will wish everyone a happy Christmas, but with a gentle reminder that ‘happy’ means warm and secure.

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