#AskTDS: “Who is responsible for damage caused by winter related problems?”

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In this week’s #AskTDS blog, we answer the question: “Who is responsible for damage caused by winter related problems?”

As we enter the colder winter months, we look at who is responsible for winter related problems and how to avoid them. As temperatures drop, it is important for tenants and landlords to be aware of each other’s responsibilities.

Landlords should check that properties are sufficiently insulated and protected; this includes making sure that the heating system is working adequately to cope with any drop in temperatures. A record of a winter check and information provided to tenants advising on precautions to prevent any possible freeze up issues will help tenants understand their responsibilities. This will include using the property’s heating system correctly to keep a home warm and safe during cold spells. Nether tenants nor their landlords want to have the experience of burst pipes the inconvenience and damage that poor property management can cause. If the property is left vacant, tenants should continue to heat the property sufficiently to keep their home protected and safe, it may cost more in pennies, but it will save pounds later on.

Ideally these responsibilities will be set out in the tenancy agreement from the beginning of the tenancy.

The winter check should not only include the heating system but also checks to internal and external pipes to ensure that are insulated, and that external drains and guttering are cleared. Internal checks for mould, damp and condensation, as well as providing guidance to tenants on how to prevent these issues occurring during winter months can help prevent any future potential disputes. These are housekeeping issues and need to be managed.

Caring for the property will assist both the landlord and tenants and give an opportunity to agree the condition of the property and manage the expectations of a tenancy. If all parties agree on the condition of the property and the responsibilities of each other’s role in maintaining the property, this will help to reduce any difficulties at the end of the tenancy.

TDS provides guidance and information available to tenants and landlords on the website on all aspects of tenancy deposit protection and the dispute process, including how to resolves disputes. These guides can help resolve any potential issues and provide for a smooth tenancy process.

Our guides and information can be found here: https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/landlords-documents-and-forms.html

About TDS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.

TDS Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.

TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.

TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.

TDS Northern Ireland: TDS is Northern Ireland’s leading and only not for profit tenancy deposit protection scheme.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.

ARLA|Propertymark: For agents who would like to stay up to date, you can contact Propertymark | ARLA at: join@propertymark.com. By being a member of Propertymark | ARLA you will be eligible for TDS Insured best headline rates.

RLA: If you are a landlord and would like to keep up to date with any changes that may affect you or your responsibilities, you can contact the RLA at: info@rla.org.uk and quote reference: dg715 to receive 25% off your first year’s membership.