Keeping the Damp at Bay in Private Housing

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As the end of term arrives we hope all students will have the opportunity for some rest and relaxation at the end of a really difficult and challenging year.   


If you are departing your student residence, or already have, over the winter/Christmas period to visit others or return home we hope you have given some thought to the heating in your properties.  This is important even if the property is empty for a brief period of time. 


It is difficult for any of us to know weather forecasts far in advance and any period of absence, short or long, might put your property at risk.  If your waters systems have not been drained and you have not prepared for heating to come on in your absence, this could create a greater risk of pipes bursting should the weather turn really cold.  Additionally if properties are not kept adequately warm during the colder months this can contribute to or cause dampness.     


Each January the Student Advice Centre hears from students who return to their properties and report issues with dampness and mould.  This is often,  although not always, caused by the fact the property hasn’t been adequately heated whilst empty.  This year the issues might be worse as students might have been away from their term time properties for even longer periods of time.   


Check your Tenancy Agreements for clauses about how long you are allowed to be absent from the Property without needing to notify the landlord/agent as this could invalidate the landlords insurance.  Many of them have Buy To Let mortgages on the properties where this is a stipulation.  If you don’t and then something happens to the property such as a break in or flood,  you might find you are liable. 


If this hasn’t crossed your mind then get in touch with your landlord or agent and let them know your times of departure and return.  Follow this up with an email as evidence and if you’ve left already, consider giving them access to pop the heating on for a period of time each day.    Otherwise set your timer before you go.


On your return consider the need to manage Legionella risks.


The Student Advice Centre is closed from 18th December 2020 until 4th January 2021 but will be there to support you in the New Year.  Wishing all students a restful winter break


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