The holiday season is almost upon us once again, and regardless of what particular holidays your tenants happen to celebrate, chances are they will be spending time with family. That means that some of your tenants will have large gatherings at their own residences, and others will be spending extended time away from home as they travel to see their family. What does this mean for a property manager? Unfortunately, this time of year can bring with it increased risk of damage, which means a greater expense for you. The good news is there are things you can do to proactively reduce this risk and keep your properties safe during this festive time.
Note: Obviously, you can’t be there to police your properties round the clock, so these suggestions are actually meant for you to pass along to your tenants. Draft up a nice letter to wish your renters well during the holiday season, and include a short checklist of suggestions that will serve as a reminder for them. Include the following.
For tenants that are planning to go away:
Plan ahead to prevent break-ins
Not only are burglars a huge risk to your tenants, as it’s their belongings that will be targeted, but your property could also become heavily damaged during a break-in. When there are lights on, it’s much less likely that a would-be burglar will target that property, as there is always a chance the residents are home. A great tool to invest in is a timer, which will automatically trigger the lights to go on at a certain time, like dusk.
Suspend newspaper and mail delivery
When papers and mail start piling up, it’s a tell-tale sign that nobody’s home, which can attract the attention of criminals. Depending on how long they plan to be away, it might make sense for your tenants to have mail and newspaper deliveries suspended until after they return, or have a friend stop by periodically to pick it up.
Use the multi-unit buddy system
For buildings with more than one rental unit, it can be helpful to tell another tenant that you know and trust that you will be away and for how long. That way, other residents can keep an eye on the property and watch for anything suspicious.
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For tenants planning to entertain family in their homes:
Be aware of increased fire hazards
For most people, the holidays come with plenty of glistening decorations, from strings of lights to candles. Along with this sparkling décor comes an increased risk of fire. Remind tenants to turn off Christmas tree lights and other indoor lighting, and to always double check to make sure candles are extinguished prior to leaving the house or going to bed for the night.
Use the fireplace with care
If any of your properties have a working fireplace, make sure that your tenants are well aware of how to use it safely. It’s especially important to remind people at this time of year never to burn excess wrapping paper or other highly flammable items in the fireplace, and to keep all decorations at a safe distance – away from the fireplace area.
While this time of year is the most joyous, it also brings with it an added level of risk to a rental property. By following these tips, and issuing friendly reminders to your tenants, you can be more proactive about preventing damage and other disasters from occurring and everyone can enjoy a safer, happier holiday season.
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