Landlords urged to ensure properties and tenants prepared for winter

Landlords should make sure that tenants are shown how to shut off water to the property, especially if they are to vacate the property over Christmas, to prevent any damage caused by frozen pipes. Alternatively, the heating system thermostat should be set to prevent it from freezing.

Tenants should also be shown how central heating systems work and where the gas boiler is located, along with the location of the emergency gas shut off valve.

The NLA is also encouraging landlords to make energy improvements to their properties. Many initiatives will be accessible through the Government’s Green Deal, set to be available from autumn 2012.

Some key ways to improve a property’s energy efficiency include:

* Loft insulation should be insulated to a minimum depth of 270mm to stop heat loss through the ceiling;
* Install cavity wall and floor insulation to stop heat escaping where possible;
* Fitting lagging to hot water pipes and tanks can significantly reduce heat loss and stop pipes from freezing;
* Draft-proof the property by filling gaps between floorboards and skirting boards.

David Salusbury, Chairman, National Landlords Association, said: "It’s important that tenants know how the heating system works in their property. Each winter, many rented properties are damaged by burst pipes because tenants don’t know how to shut off the heating system.

"Making a property more energy efficient provides benefits for all involved: tenants will be warmer and energy bills reduced. A higher energy efficiency rating, which is measured by an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), may also benefit the landlord by making a house more attractive to prospective tenants.

"All these factors help the environment, so the NLA encourages landlords to consider the government’s Green Deal when it is formally introduced next year."

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