With Christmas quickly approaching, a lot of tenants will be planning to pack up and go on holiday - whether it's to stay with family or friends, or to head abroad for some winter sunshine - but do you have to tell your landlord or letting agent if you're leaving your home empty?

Your tenancy agreement should have a clause which explains your responsibilities if you leave the property empty. For example, your tenancy agreement might say that you need to tell your landlord or letting agent if you're going to be on holiday for longer than 14 days. It might also say if you need to do anything before you leave - for example, set the heating on a timer in winter to stop the pipes from freezing over.

Most insurance policies will also specify what you need to do if you're leaving the property unoccupied. Failure to comply with these instructions may invalidate the insurance. If you're a landlord or letting agent, you should make sure the instructions in your tenancy agreement match up with what's specified in your insurance policy. If you're a tenant, double-check your insurance policies before you leave - for example, does your contents insurance say that you must remove all valuables from the property, or turn the water off at the mains?

Even if there isn't a clause in your tenancy agreement about unoccupied periods, it's still a good idea to let your landlord or letting agent know if the property will be left empty. This means they can keep an eye on it to stop any security or maintenance problems.

If you don't let anyone know you're going to be away and there's damage to the property - for example, a leak or burst pipe - your landlord or letting agent might claim money from your deposit to cover any additional costs caused by the problem not being dealt with immediately.