Top 5 tips for tenants this Christmas and through winter

Top 5 tips for tenants this Christmas and through winter
19th December 2023

The colder, darker months, combined with festive activities, bring a number of extra risks that tenants need to be mindful of over Christmas and into the new year.

As well as making sure you keep yourself and your belongings safe, it’s important to remember that you have a responsibility to look after your rented home. So, here are the top five things to think about and steps you can take to give both you and your property the best chance of making it through the winter without incident.

Be extra vigilant around fire safety

Fire is one of the most potentially deadly risks in a home and that risk is heightened in winter due to the need to keep warm and the popularity of festive lights and candles. With that in mind:

  • Test your smoke alarms once a month
  • Keep any free-standing heaters and candles away from curtains and other soft furnishings
  • Make sure all candles are extinguished before going to bed or leaving the property (some rental agreements don’t allow candles at all, so always check this first)
  • If there is an open fire, use a guard
  • Don’t overload plug sockets with adapters or extension cables for extra lights and appliances



Make sure your Christmas tree isn’t a hazard

According to research from Electrical Safety First, one in eight Brits use tree lights that they know are in bad condition, one in three decorate trees with bauble tea lights, and more than half of those who have a real tree don’t water it. 

For a Christmas tree that’s as safe as possible:

  • Ideally have an artificial tree, which will burn less quickly than a real one if fire does break out
  • Check that the lights are in good condition and there are no broken lights or exposed wires
  • Use LED lights as they operate at extra-low voltage, which greatly reduces the risk of electric shock
  • Keep naked flames well away from the tree
  • If you have a real tree, water it regularly so it doesn’t dry out – trees can absorb up to a litre of water a day
  • Don’t leave tree lights on when you’re out or overnight, as decorations could overheat
  • Never spray a tree with hairspray to stop needles falling off – it’s highly flammable!

Keep the property secure

Rented properties are around two-thirds more likely to be targeted by burglars than owner-occupied homes, and burglaries peak around December. So, at this time of year:

  • Don’t leave Christmas presents where they can easily be seen from outside
  • Consider putting a couple of lights on timers, set to go on and off at different times, to give the impression that someone is always in the property
  • Make sure doors and windows are secured overnight and when leaving the property

Sources:,-and-identifies-those-most-at-risk /

Bear in mind that if a burglar has managed to enter the property without having to break in, that is likely to invalidate both your own and your landlord’s insurance policies. 



Minimise the risk of burst pipes

When water freezes, it expands, which can crack pipes. Then when the ice melts, the water escapes and that can result in a property flooding. Hopefully, your landlord will have had all the pipework lagged to insulate it from the cold, but even that doesn’t eliminate the risk entirely.  So, when the temperature outside dips below freezing, it’s important to have the heating on low and also try to keep the water moving in the property.

Let your landlord or agent know if you’re going away

If you’re going to be spending time away from the property over the festive period – or any other time over the winter – let your landlord or agent know. If there is a cold snap, a storm or heavy snowfall while the property is vacant and there is any damage, it might not be discovered for several days. But if the landlord or agent is aware that you are away, they can make the necessary checks.

However, even with the best preparation for the winter period, accidents can still happen. That’s why it’s well worth considering taking out tenant insurance to cover you financially. To get a quote and read our full tenant policy, visit our tenant insurance page or you can call the team on 01903 890044 to discuss your requirements.

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