When the holiday season comes around, keeping up with gift-giving, family gatherings, and finances can seem like a maddening prospect. For landlords, that’s just the beginning. Many property managers have a to-do list longer than Santa’s in the thick of the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make things more manageable while also making life easier for your tenants.
Know When Your Tenants Are Out of Town
To prevent burglary or a disaster with an appliance or utilities, knowing which tenants will be out of town is vital. Criminals target houses and apartments that show signs of being (temporarily) empty, and many people travel back home to reunite with their family up to weeks at a time. Ask your tenants to let you know when they plan to be out of town; this will help you know whether you should stop by the property and check to see if it’s locked and secured. This will also provide an opportunity to check on any appliances that might need maintenance, as well as to ensure that the heat is on so as to prevent any frozen pipes. Maintaining consistent lines of communication with your tenants will make these reminders seem unobtrusive and natural.
Establish a Policy on Holiday Decorations, Especially Christmas Trees
If your tenants are the festive type, they’re likely to put up some holiday decorations on the inside and outside of the property. There’s nothing wrong with displaying a little excitement for the holiday season, but make sure your tenants are doing so safely and responsibly. Festive lighting and Christmas trees pose fire hazards if not handled correctly, so (politely) let your tenants know of safe ways to spread their holiday cheer. Use organizations like the National Fire Protection Association to get helpful tips and guidelines to ensure a safe season.
If You’re Gone for the Holiday Season, Find a Stand-In
The last thing you need on Christmas Eve is a call from a tenant about a leaking pipe and you aren’t prepared to handle it. Having a handyman, or even a reliable family member in town who doesn’t mind making a little money on the side, is necessary insurance for you as you try to navigate your way through the holidays. Being unresponsive or unhelpful around the holidays is not only a sure way to create disgruntled tenants, but you could be in violation or your lease if you don’t respond in time. The best way to handle these situations is, of course, to prevent them from happening in the first place, and the Environment Protection Agency has a great number of recommendations to do just that and conserve energy as you do.
Additional Reading: 5 Rental Maintenance Tips For Durable Properties – Part 1
Spread Some Holiday Cheer!
Consider sending well wishes in the form of a holiday card, a batch of cookies, or rent reduction for your tenants. You can also use this friendly well-wishing to your advantage, as you can pair a card or dessert with the reminders discussed earlier. Your tenants will be more likely to follow the steps for a safe holiday season and let you know their travel plans if there’s a personal touch to the reminder. Save time and knock two things out at once by giving your tenants some holiday cheer and instructions at the same time.
For more interesting articles on managing your properties, be sure to subscribe to our blog and Like us on Facebook. And don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments!