Secure your homes over the break
By |Published On: 29th December 2015|

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Secure your homes over the break

By |Published On: 29th December 2015|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

With the festive period in full swing, many of us will be travelling to see loved ones over the extended break from work (well, for some of you!)

However, while Brits are getting stuck into mulled wine, leftover turkey and gorging on chocolate, it is important to remember that there are some that prey on poorly secured empty properties.

Stay secure

As owner of Belvoir, Birmingham Central, Major Mahill observes; ‘an empty property is a vulnerable property. So, if your tenant is intending to be away during the festivities, it’s important to put some security measures in place in order to protect it.’[1]

‘Opportunistic thieves love empty properties, especially over the Christmas period when piles of pricey presents are left unattended. In addition, unexpected maintenance emergencies can escalate at speed while no one’s home,’ he added.[1]


During the Winter, one of landlords’ greatest fears is flooding, something which has been seen in extreme levels recently in the North. Charlotte Baker, owner of Belvoir Melton Mowbray and Bingham said, ‘a leaky roof, blocked guttering or burst pipes can all cause substantial damage swiftly in the absence of a tenant to notice or report them.’

‘To help reduce the potential of water worries, check that all roof tiles are secure and haven’t been damaged by the recent winds, plus that all guttering is unblocked and debris-free,’ she continued.[1]

Mr Major added, ‘to help prevent frozen pipes ensure all pipes are adequately insulated, plus ask your tenant to set the timer on the heating for an hour in the morning and at night while they are away.’[1]

Secure your homes over the break

Secure your homes over the break

Lengthy leave? Liaise

Tenants looking to leave rental property for an extended period should always inform their landlord first. Baker notes that, ‘if your property is going to be empty for 28 days or more its important that you are made aware. Some tenants may even be happy for you to visit the property occasionally in their absence to make sure all is well. Before doing so however, always ensure you have their permission for this.’[1]

‘It’s vital that you have a good insurance policy in place in case the worst was to happen,” she added. “when did you last check your policy? Is it going to cover you for all the common winter emergency situations? Plus, are there certain criteria you have to meet if the property is vacant for an extended period of time, such as draining the heating system?’[1]

Christmas crimes

It is important to remember that Christmas provides an opportune time for burglars to make their move. Unoccupied homes packed with Christmas gifts are the main target and tenants and landlords alike should work together to combat the mindless few.

‘If the property has a burglar alarm, window locks and other security features check that they are in working order,” says Baker. ‘Also consider installing outside security lights. It’s helpful to talk to your tenant in order to ensure they understand how to use the security measures you’ve put in place and are aware of their responsibilities.’[1]

Mr Major agrees, stating, ‘While it’s beneficial for you (and perhaps a neighbour) to know that your tenant is going to be away over the festive season, it’s just as valuable that other people don’t!” he says. ‘Providing an interior lamp with a timer can help make a property appear occupied, as can leaving a car in the driveway, plus asking a neighbour to push post properly through the letterbox and put out the bins.’[1]


Tenants and agents should take time to look at this useful checklist to ensure their properties are as safe as possible over the break:

  • Advise of any extended periods where the property will be empty
  • Ensure alarms, windows and other safety features are working
  • Use central heating timers to help combat burst pipes
  • Check roof tiles
  • Unblock all guttering
  • Ask a neighbour to put the bins out
  • Install security lights
  • Take out sufficient insurance




About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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