Top five tips for tenants with weather-damaged property
Posted 17 January 2014 by Keith Osborne
Following the recent bad weather, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has provided a guide to dealing with power cuts, flooding and storm damage. Susan Fitz-Gibbon, president of ARLA, says tenants can take a series of steps to allay their concerns over weather damage, with the most important being to fully understand the terms of their tenancy agreement.
Don't weather the storm alone
The first step if any weather-related damage occurs is to contact your landlord or letting agent as soon as possible. If your landlord or agent cannot attend immediately, you should take time-stamped photographs of the damage to fully document the incident.
What's your responsibility?
In most circumstances, the landlord is responsible for the maintenance of the exterior or the building, although in certain tenancy agreements tenants may be expected to perform upkeep tasks such as cleaning gutters. You should familiarise yourself with your tenancy agreement, which should clarify what is and is not your responsibility.
During the winter months, it is the responsibility of the tenant to make sure the pipes don't freeze if they are away from the property for extended periods. The best way to minimise the risk of this happening is to set the heating to come on at a low level during the coldest parts of the day. You should also inform your landlord that you will be away from the property.
When viewing a property, check if the area is prone to flooding. If you are concerned about flooding, it is important to ensure that your contents insurance covers water damage.
In the event of a power cut, check the UK Power Networks website (if you are able to), where you should be able to get updates on the situation. If the power cut is affecting more than just your home, you should initially contact your utility provider rather than your landlord.