Be prepared to beat bad weather

Following the recent bad weather, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is reminding tenants to be aware of who is responsible for what in the event of damage to a rented property.

Storm damage, power cuts and flooding can be stressful, but familiarising yourself with your tenancy agreement can help ensure problems are sorted as quickly as possible.

Susan Fitz-Gibbon, president of ARLA, said: “The recent bad weather has affected homes across the Galloway area. As well as the inconvenience and expense suffered by homeowners, many tenants will have been caught up too.

“Asking the right questions before you move into a rental property remains the best way to avoid future problems, but there are also a number of steps that one can take to allay concerns over the potential impacts of weather damage.”

ARLA has the following tips for those concerned about the effects of harsh winter weather on their rented home.

Tenants should always have access to relevant contact details if there is a problem with a rented home.

If the responsible party cannot attend immediately, taking time-stamped pictures of damage is a sensible course of action.

In most cases landlords will be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the building’s exterior. However, tenants should do everything they can to minimise damage, even if this is limited to reporting a problem as soon as it happens.

During the colder months, it is a tenant’s responsibility to make sure the pipes don’t freeze if they are away from the property for extended periods. The best way to combat this problem is to set the heating to come on at a low level during the coldest parts of the day, while also informing your landlord that you will be away.

When viewing a rental property, it is worth checking if the area is prone to flooding.

Contents insurance for your own goods is a tenant’s responsibility, and always ensure it provides adequate cover for water damage.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a power cut, checking the UK Power Networks website is a quick way to get updates on the current situation. If the power cut is affecting more than just your home, it is worth getting in touch with your utility provider directly.