Christmas Safety Tips for Landlords and Tenants

By 6 min read • December 4, 2023
A Christmas house ornament

’Tis the season of joy, festivities, and twinkling lights. As we approach the most wonderful time of the year, landlords and tenants must remember the importance of ensuring their rental property is both safe and merry.

With holiday decorations, festive gatherings, merry-making, and gifts galore, the Christmas holidays present landlords and tenants with some unique hazards to navigate.

In this article, we’ll unwrap some essential Christmas safety tips for rental property management, helping landlords and tenants ensure that preventable accidents and security issues don’t tarnish the holiday season.

Navigating Christmas Hazards in Rental Properties

As the festive season rolls around, landlords have more on their plates than just mince pies. You are responsible for keeping the property you rent safe and free from holiday hazards. Unfortunately, you can only do so much to keep your tenants and property safe during the holidays. Once you have fulfilled your legal obligations, you can only guide your tenants on how to keep their holiday merry, bright, and, most importantly, safe.

Over the holiday season, you’ll have your own long list of holiday to-dos, and the last thing you want is a yuletide emergency throwing a spanner in the works. But let’s face it: Christmas is a bustling time of year for landlords. Many tenants spend more time at home getting into the festive spirit during the Christmas holidays, and plenty of things could go wrong if tenants aren’t clued up on the potential hazards of the season. That’s where your expertise comes in! From advising tenants not to overload sockets to keeping an eye on empty properties whilst tenants are away, your advice and guidance can ensure a smoother, safer holiday season for you and your tenants.

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Break-ins and Theft

Unfortunately, the holiday season sees a spike in the number of break-ins and burglaries; let’s find out why. Firstly, homes are often laden with gifts during the Christmas period, and opportunist thieves can be tempted by seeing a Christmas tree surrounded by wrapped presents. After the gifts have been unwrapped, discarding boxes for pricey items outside in plain view can also inadvertently signal to burglars that new valuable items are inside.

 It’s not just the gifts under the Christmas tree that can attract thieves either. The seasonal surge in shopping means an accumulation of new and expensive items in the home, whether bottles of alcohol or a new TV or sound system – it can make the property a more attractive target for thieves. Adding to this, many people also travel to visit friends and family over Christmas, leaving their properties empty and more vulnerable to break-ins. The shorter days and longer nights around the Christmas period also mean more hours of darkness, making it easier for burglars to break into properties unnoticed.

The consequences of a break-in extend beyond the loss of valuables like Christmas presents and electronics. The physical damage to properties, like broken doors and windows, and the emotional trauma for tenants can be considerable. The loss and violation of a break-in can cast a shadow over the festive period, potentially leading to significant financial and emotional strain.

How to Protect Rental Properties From Christmas Break-ins

As a landlord, you cannot directly influence your tenants’ behaviour, but by being aware of the risks and advising tenants on the preventive measures they can take, you can help safeguard your rental properties in the run-up to Christmas.

Review and Enhance Security Measures

The lead-up to Christmas is a good time to assess and upgrade your rental property’s security measures. If the property isn’t in a well-lit area, consider installing security lighting to deter burglars. In neighbourhoods with higher crime rates, a security alarm system can provide a layer of protection and peace of mind for you and your tenants.

Keep Christmas Presents and Other Valuables Out of Sight

Advise tenants to avoid placing Christmas presents or other high-value items in direct sight of windows. If valuables are visible, they should consider drawing the curtains or blinds when the house is empty.

Don’t Relax Security Measures

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can sometimes lead to a lapse in your tenant’s regular security practices. Remind tenants that this time of year is one of the worst for break-ins and stress the importance of always locking windows and doors when leaving the property. If the property has an alarm system, remind tenants to use it consistently, even if they are only popping out briefly.

Don’t Overshare on Social Media

Tenants should avoid publicising their movements or photos of any expensive gifts they receive over the Christmas period on social media. Doing so could inadvertently signal to burglars that the property will be empty or that there’s something worth breaking in for. Encourage tenants to be cautious about what they share online.

Ask Tenants to Inform You if They’re Going Away

Ask tenants to inform you if they plan to be away for an extended period during the holidays. This allows you to discuss the points above with them, keep a closer eye on the property, and take any additional security measures.

Preventing Fires at Christmas

The Christmas season, with its sparkle and celebration, unfortunately, brings a heightened risk of house fires. In fact, according to Property Reporter, there is a 12% spike in fire service callouts on Christmas Day compared to the monthly average. Let’s find out what causes this increase in fire hazards during the holidays.

A lot of effort goes into making a rental property look cosy and magical at Christmas. Dangling decorations, twinkling fairy lights, and glowing candles add to the festive ambience but can also be a fire hazard if not treated with care. Throughout December, many fires are caused by overloaded electrical outlets, as tenants light up their homes like the Blackpool Illuminations. Overloaded sockets can cause electrical faults and overheating, sometimes leading to fires.

Whilst the latest festive-scented Yankee candle may make your rental property smell delicious – like gingerbread or mulled wine – when left unattended or placed near flammable decorations, they can quickly become a hazard.

Additionally, the kitchen, a hub of activity during Christmas as tenants prepare holiday feasts, sees increased usage and a higher risk of kitchen fires.

Tenant Christmas Fire Safety Tips

Here are some vital fire safety tips to share with your tenants to help prevent festive fire hazards this Christmas.

  • Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Don’t overload plug sockets.
  • Don’t leave candles unattended.
  • Don’t leave candles near Christmas trees or other greenery.
  • Opt for battery-operated candles.
  • Switch off or unplug fairy lights at night and when going out.
  • Inspect Christmas lights for signs of damage before using.
  • Don’t hang decorations over or near fires or heaters.

Keeping Empty Properties Safe at Christmas

The holiday season often means joyous reunions with friends and family; for many tenants, this involves travelling and leaving their rented homes empty. However, an empty property during the chilly festive period can be vulnerable to a few seasonal hazards. Dropping temperatures raise the risk of pipes freezing, and a cold, unheated, unventilated property can become a breeding ground for damp and mould – not the welcome home gift any tenant wants.

How to Protect Your Empty Property at Christmas

Here are our top tips for protecting your property when your tenants aren’t home.

Ask Tenants to Inform You if They’re Going Away

This heads-up allows you to offer them timely advice on the following points and keep a watchful eye on the property.

Leave the Thermostat on

Advise tenants to set the thermostat to a low but consistent temperature to prevent the build-up of damp and mould and keep the pipes from freezing over. This small step can help to prevent significant damage.

Insulate Pipes

Insulating the pipes on your rental property means they are less likely to freeze over. This preventative measure can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Leave Lights on a Timer  

A dark house can clearly indicate that no one is around. If your tenants plan to go on holiday or an extended trip to visit family or friends over Christmas, suggest they set timers to switch the lights on and off at certain times throughout the day to give the impression that someone is home and deter potential burglars.

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Tips for Communicating Christmas Safety Advice to Tenants

If you’re a landlord, there’s a fine line between offering helpful advice and coming across as interfering or over the top. It’s important to provide tenants with safety advice over Christmas without sounding too intrusive. Here are some helpful tips for striking the perfect balance.

Season’s Greetings with a Side of Safety

Consider coupling your safety advice with a Christmas gift, like a Christmas card or edible treats. This approach softens the delivery and shows your tenants that your advice comes from a place of care and concern.

Offer a Printed Handout

Instead of a verbal rundown that could be a lot to take in or come across as a bit of a lecture, why not compile your safety tips into a handy written guide? This non-intrusive approach allows tenants to read and digest the information in their own time.

Keep Communication Lines Open

Try to retain good relations with your tenants and keep communication lines open. Encourage tenants to let you know if they plan to go away during the holidays. Knowing about their travel plans allows you to monitor the property whilst it’s empty. Remember, ensuring a joyful and hazard-free Christmas requires the landlord and tenants to foster a positive and cooperative relationship.

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