When the sun comes out, we can wear a pair of sunglasses to protect our eyes. When the temperatures drop during the winter, we can wear a hat, scarf and gloves to keep ourselves warm. And when the heavens open up and the rain starts pouring, an umbrella can shield us to prevent us from getting wet. Unfortunately, these same solutions aren’t applicable to our homes in similar scenarios. The status of the weather and time of year can have a direct impact on the condition of a rented property and could potentially result in a dispute between a tenant and their landlord or letting agent when it’s time to move out and collect the deposit.

Keeping your home dry

Scotland is notorious for its bad weather, being the rainiest part of the United Kingdom and experiencing rain on most days of the year. In some cases, you may notice rainwater leaking through your ceiling. The residents of Brechin, for example, are very well aware of this having suffered the effects of extreme weather recently. Leaks should be reported to your landlord or letting agent immediately and it is their responsibility to send someone over to fix it as soon as possible, however failure to report leakage right away could make you liable if the problem becomes serious. The most obvious outcome is that erosion from water can cause part of your ceiling to collapse, which would be expensive to fix. Excess water in your home can eventually lead to mould and condensation, which can spiral out of control if not dealt with quickly. Tenancy Deposit Scheme has an article and online session all about mould and condensation and whose responsibility it is. If you are living in a flat with a neighbour living above you and notice water leaking in your ceiling, there is a good chance it is due to their home being flooded and should be discussed with them. In some instances, they could be liable for damage caused to your property.

Homes are particularly prone to leaking during the colder seasons, as pipes can freeze when the temperatures are low. As the water in the pipes freeze, it expands and can crack or burst. Burst pipes are another potential culprit of leaking, or even flooding in your home. Recognising the signs of frozen pipes is crucial in preventing problems like these from occurring. One telltale sign of frozen pipes is very little or no water coming out of taps, as the water will struggle to pass through ice. Another obvious sign is visible ice covering any exposed pipes in your property, including outside pipes. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to minimise the chances of frozen pipes rearing their ugly head before they burst and leave your home flooded. Regular heating in your property can keep your pipes warm and they are therefore less likely to freeze, however due to the cost-of-living crisis this could be a potentially expensive course of action. It is vital to also insulate your pipes in unheated areas, and regularly turn on your taps to keep water consistently flowing through. If you find that you do have frozen pipes, this should be reported to your landlord or letting agent right away and they should arrange for someone to come over and fix them.

Be wary of wind

While spring and summer will bear witness to full, brightly coloured treetops, the leaves decay and fall in autumn and winter. Leaves are easily blown around in the wind and can often find themselves setting up camp in your home’s gutters. This can eventually cause clogging which restricts water flow and can result in leaking or even broken gutters. Cleaning out gutters often can help prevent this from happening, and your tenancy agreement should state whether this is the responsibility of you or your landlord. Tenants living in properties that include trees in the garden or nearby might find that they will have to clear gutters more frequently, and perhaps even have to trim branches on trees. A tree surgeon should always be consulted before doing this.
High winds can be very problematic for your garden. Watch out for loose garden furniture, ornaments or fence posts, and make sure they are secure. If need be, consider taking them inside until the wind blows over.

Help with heat

When a jumper doesn’t cut it during the winter, homes with a fireplace will likely find that they have the fire roaring more often. Under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, fire safety precautions in a rented property are the responsibility of the landlord. The landlord should also have someone sweep and clean chimneys before the start of any tenancy but can pass the responsibility for maintaining the chimney’s condition to the tenant. In this case it is up to the tenant to contact a chimney sweeper. This should be outlined in the tenancy agreement.
Whilst cold weather is what we need to be careful of during this time of year, the warmer seasons aren’t without their challenges either. Heatwaves during the summer bring their own problems too. Heat causes materials to expand, and this can cause structural damage such as cracking if materials overheat. Deterioration of building materials could require repairs, and this is something that you will again have to report to your landlord as soon as possible, if you notice cracks.

Fair wear and tear

Unfortunately, nobody can control the weather, or we would not have to worry about any of the aforementioned problems. As we cannot prevent the rain, we are limited on how much we are able to protect our properties, and so in most cases, weather related damage will fall under the umbrella of fair wear and tear. This refers to damage to the property that occurs naturally over time and cannot be helped by the tenant. In these instances, the blame is not necessarily on the tenant and they may not be liable for damages that occur.