Houses and flats often provide the stage in Christmas movies, as families and friends get together under one roof and various forms of magic, mirth and mayhem unfold. Inspired by scenarios from some favourite festive films, we've pulled together some points for tenants to consider during the holiday season.


Gizmo and his human pal Billy get most of the credit for overcoming the mini menaces in Gremlins, but we think Billy's Mum deserves a special mention for her actions. Mild mannered Mrs Lynn Peltzer single-handedly takes care of the creatures invading her home in the most innovative fashion, involving both a blender and a microwave. She wins that battle alright, but the mess left would have needed a fair bit of elbow grease to clean up.

The kitchen-based carnage puts us in mind of a common cause for cleaning claims - the dreaded dirty oven. The rest of your rented property could be sparkling, but if there are months - years even - worth of grease hiding behind that oven door when you move out your landlord may well claim for costs for cleaning from your deposit, and if they need to call in oven cleaning professionals you could be looking at a price tag of around 50. We recommend giving the oven a clean on a regular basis - frequent cleans are quicker and less challenging than tackling a neglected oven at the end of your tenancy.


Often overlooked as a Christmas movie, but in fact one of the few to feature both Christmas and New Year's Eve, Trading Places sees the crooked Duke brothers switch the lives of their protege Louis Winthorpe III and street hustler Billy Ray Valentine as part of a wager. As Valentine is shown around his new home - a plush Philadelphia town house - he picks up a $35,000 vase and starts to juggle with it. The precious porcelain ends up in pieces on the floor.

Between 2017 and 2018, 38% of claims made against tenancy deposits held by SafeDeposits Scotland related to damage. The festive season can bring a whole variety of scenarios that risk causing damage to your rented property and its inventories contents... the meeting of a cream coloured carpet and a pair of wellies that have just walked through a mile of slush; the cigarette burn on the sofa during the Hogmanay party; the door frame chipped as you attempt to squeeze that mammoth Christmas tree into the room. Most damage is unintentional so taking care of your landlord's property should be something that goes without saying. If the worst happens and there is an accident, do what you can to rectify the damage and be honest and upfront with your landlord - together you may be able to find a solution that sorts the damage and avoids a dispute surrounding your deposit further down the line.


In Elf we see Buddy sprinkle his magic across Manhattan. When it comes to Christmas decorations he really goes to town, giving both Gimbels department store and the Hobbs family home unique makeovers with his talent for making paperchains.

That brings us to one of the golden rules of being a tenant - return the property to the landlord in the condition that you found it. Christmas decorations typically shouldn't be a cause for concern here, although if you decide to pin or tape decorations to the walls and damage paintwork or wallpaper your landlord may seek to claim for redecorating. Looking at decoration in the wider, year-round, sense if you decide that you want to change the paint colour scheme of a room for example this is something that you should seek written permission from the landlord for. In the event that they do approve redecoration, this may be on the condition that the altered part of the property is returned to its original appearance before you move out.


We'd hate to see the state of the Griswolds' front lawn when the snow melted after the events of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The garden became a dumping ground for ruined decorations, was on the front line for an explosion triggered by the contents of a chemical toilet and was trampled over by no fewer than 14 extended family members, not to mention a SWAT team!

Those are extreme circumstances of course, but winter can be unkind to gardens nonetheless. If your rented property has a garden your tenancy agreement will indicate expectations with regards to its upkeep. Generally though the same rule for inside the property - returning it in its original condition - applies, and keeping paths, lawns and any flowerbeds neat will be expected. Sticking with the Christmas theme, make sure you dispose of your Christmas tree properly - a festive fir that's seen better days is not a good look when left to rot in a garden.


We all know the story of Home Alone - burglars Harry and Marv meet their match in pint-sized Kevin when they attempt to rob the McCallister family home. Wisecracks and injuries ensue.

Thankfully we've yet to encounter a dispute relating to a child setting traps with paint buckets and blowtorches, but this classic Christmas movie does bring us around to what happens if you - like the McCallisters - decide to take a trip away over the festive season. For your own sake as much as anyone else's, security should of course be paramount in case your local equivalent of "The Wet Bandits" are on the prowl - make sure doors and windows are locked, valuables aren't left out on view and where possible let a neighbour know you're away so they'll know something's amiss if a light goes on or they hear a noise. Getting away for Christmas and making sure you have everyone's presents packed can result in a rush, so make sure you don't miss things like switching off the washing machine (the most common appliance to cause fires) after a spin. Depending on how long you're away for (and the weather forecast) you may want to turn your water off before you depart - this might help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting during a particularly cold snap.