Landlords should be wary of leaving their homes empty in the winter as the weather could lead to problems such as damp and mould, the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks has warned.
Condensation is the main cause of damp, and when windows are left unopened for too long the chance of mould developing increases. Moreover the longer a property remains unoccupied and unchecked the higher the chances are of drain blockages, pipe problems and clogged gutters.
The AIIC said that during this time of the year leaves are the main cause of blockages and clogs, while pipes should be checked for cracks and leaks as these can escalate into more serious problems, especially if the water freezes.
Patricia Barber, chair of the AIIC, said: "Winter weather can cause havoc with people's properties and now the clocks have gone back, we are advising landlords – particularly those with empty properties – to carry out thorough checks and regular inspections this winter in order to minimise the risk of serious property damage.
"As well as benefitting both the landlord and tenant when it comes to the return of deposits at the end of a tenancy, a detailed inventory carried out by an independent inventory clerk also allows a landlord to identify what needs repairing between contracts.
"This can be vital in ensuring the long-term condition of the rental property as well as helping to get it up to scratch for new tenants."
The average void period is typically 2.6 weeks according to research from Paragon Mortgages.