It’s that time of the year again, time for Christmas shopping, family gatherings, island vacations and expanding waistlines. As you’re busy preparing for the holiday season, the last thing you want to think about is work. But as a property manager, you can’t just go MIA on your tenants.
Here are a few important things you can do now to keep your tenants happy over the Christmas break so you can focus on enjoying yours.
Inform everyone about your office holiday period
We recommend using different channels of communication to make sure no one is left out of the loop. Send out a Season’s Greetings email, post on your agency’s social media page, update the Google My Business Opening Hours, put up a notice on your agency website. Most importantly, don’t forget to setup an automatic reply to emails and phone calls that come through during the holiday period.
Regardless of what form of communication you’re using, always include info about your office closure dates. Make sure that tenants and landlords can still get help if they need it. Include the contact info of the on-call property manager who will handle issues in your absence. You should also include your own contact info but specify that it is only for emergencies.
Educate tenants on looking after the property while they are away
Christmas and New Year’s may be the peak season for overseas holidays or extended road trips. It is also prime time for burglaries and other property nightmares that happen when a house is left unattended.
Create a home security checklist for your tenants so they can take pre-emptive measures to prepare their properties for when it will be unoccupied. To make life easier for you, we’ve listed a few key tasks to include in the home security checklist (you can even use it for yourself):
- Lock your windows and secure sliding glass doors with a yardstick or broom handle. Set timers on a few lights to deter burglars from targeting your house.
- Monitor your property remotely by either getting a security system professionally installed or using a wireless security camera that sends a feed to your smartphone.
- Give a key to a trusted friend or neighbour so they check on the property if the alarm goes off and disarm the alarm.
- Get someone to hold any letters or packages while you are away. Leaving mail to pile up in your letterbox or outside your door is like announcing to would-be burglars that nobody is home.
- Turn off the water to prevent any leakage from washing machines or toilets that could lead to flooding.
- Unplug appliances that won’t be used; disconnect lamps, TVs, computers, printers and other appliances. Not only will this cut down on energy bills, it also protects appliances from being damaged by power surges caused by storms.
- Leave on the dehumidifier or the AC (it doesn‘t have to be every room) but by doing this you can moderate the temperature inside the house. Excessive heat and humidity provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and damages hardwood floors.
Have a plan to address tenant repair requests
Conduct a thorough review of outstanding repair requests and maintenance checks. Call any tenants who have outstanding repairs and arrange these to be done before Christmas. Ask the tenants to contact you with any new repair issues no later than 2 weeks prior to your Christmas closure date.
Speak to your Landlords about any seasonal maintenance required, such as air conditioning services, smoke alarm services, pool pump services or gutter cleans.
The Christmas period coincides with storm season in certain parts of Australia. So, you are bound to have tenants calling about a power outage, burst water pipe or fallen tree. In your end-of-year office closure email provide your tenants with a list of emergency contacts (i.e. the SES phone number, the local electricity provider’s and the local council’s emergency numbers) also include contact details of your preferred tradesmen (i.e. plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, pool companies etc…).
Don’t forget to speak with your preferred tradesmen and ensure they will be available over the break to help any tenants with emergency repairs.
Strengthen relationships with landlords and tenants
Being a property manager, it’s easy to get caught up in what’s directly in front of you – unhappy tenants, damaged properties and endless paperwork. What really matters at the end of the day is the level of trust and communication between you and the tenants, landlords and other stakeholders.
As the Christmas season rolls around, take the opportunity to express warmth and gratitude. Send your tenants and landlords a greeting card or small gift – a little goes a long way. Not only will this strengthen your relationship with existing clients, it’ll also build your reputation in front of potential clients.
The holiday season is the perfect excuse to not be available 24/7 for your tenants and landlords. By being proactive in planning ahead, you can have a peace of mind while on your much-deserved holiday.
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