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Help for Tenants to Avoid Dangerous Choices

Tenants could be more at risk of making hazardous choices about how they heat and light their home this winter. Insurance companies have warned that, with energy bills rising, inflation creeping up and the National Grid warning of planned blackouts, some tenants may seek out alternative light and energy sources to save some cash. This has led to calls for landlords and letting agents to provide help for tenants to make safer decisions.

Zurich UK surveyed residents to find out how they were going to manage the challenges of this winter and the cost of living crisis. They found that many admitted they were looking for alternatives from regular heating and light options. The insurer also revealed details of cases in which families had suffered accidents from doing similar.

Risky Choices for Tenants

Around 13% of people said they would light candles to keep electricity bills down in the gloomy months. However, fires caused by candles can leave residents with average repair bills of £18,000. Last year, there was a UK household in which an unattended candle caused £140,000 worth of damage.

There are also reported incidents with heating sources too. In 2021, a British household suffered £200,000 worth of damage when an electric heater set fire to a duvet. Luckily, the family escaped from their home in time.

Paul Redington, a property claims expert, said: “The energy crisis is forcing people to make tough – and potentially more hazardous – choices over how they heat and light their home.” He added: “Accidental blazes could climb higher this winter as households use candles to keep energy bills down or cope with potential blackouts.

Energy crisis

The Energy Price Guarantee is in place until April, and limits the unit cost of electricity and gas so a typical household in Britain will pay an average of around £2,500 a year on their energy bill. However, despite some confusion, this is not the most anyone will pay. It is simply an average, based on regular winter usage for a family home.

Landlords and letting agents are being urged to offer help for tenants to cut their bills, which even if they stick to the average could be double what they were paying last year. Installing insulation, stopping drafts around doors and windows and replacing lightbulbs with LEDs could all help tenants save cash this winter.

Help for tenants – what you can do

A number of those questioned in the survey said they would use an open fire or portable heater to heat a room this winter rather than run expensive central heating for the whole house.

If tenants want to use a log or coal fire, landlords and letting agents should ensure the chimney has been properly swept and there is a fireguard available for the use of those living in the home. Where landlords supply portable heaters, you should advise tenants on the safest way to use them, including keeping them away from loose fabrics and combustible items.

Remind tenants never to leave lit candles unattended and always put them out when they leave the room – even if they are only nipping out for a moment. Place them carefully on a stable surface, out of the reach of pets and children.

You should also make sure you have installed a smoke alarm, which is tested regularly.

Outsource Property Management

Our outsourced property management services will help you maintain your properties in the best possible condition, as well as taking many more aspects of property management out of your hands. We provide a professional service that will keep your tenants happy all year round. Talk to us today on 0208 5757630.


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