It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas, that is; the festive season is upon us, and for landlords, a chance to spread a little cheer as the Yuletide period approaches. For those minded, some festive foresight can strengthen relationships with tenants and ensure seasonal troubles are nipped in the bud or avoided altogether. Properties are vulnerable once winter begins to bite, so make a list and be sure to check it twice.
Whether you self manage your property/properties or you decided to use a property management company, the following seasonal tips for landlords may certainly be of some use this winter.
Enjoy a crime-free Christmas
The festive season is a peak time for burglars, so remind tenants to be security-conscious as Christmas approaches. Provide timer switches, encourage tenants to leave a light on when heading out to parties, and if properties are to be left unoccupied for the holidays, keep a close eye on them.
Ensure locks are up to date and fit for purpose, fix broken gates and fences and install security lighting.
Be prepared, whatever the weather
The North-East elements will be at their worst this winter, but be prepared and the weather shouldn’t present a problem. Clear gutters and check for obvious problems on the outside, whilst indoors, some simple steps can ensure common issues are avoided.
Encourage tenants to keep properties ventilated to prevent damp and mould, whilst the central heating should be set, even if there’s no-one home, to avoid frozen pipes.
In case of emergency, contact…
Ensure contact information is correct and up-to-date. This is never more important than during the winter months, when the chances of issues arising increase. If the worst comes to the worst and the boiler breaks down, your tenant must be able to get in touch.
If you’re not going to be around, be sure to leave telephone numbers for tried and trusted tradespeople.
Be prepared for parties
You might prefer tenants not to host parties, but as a landlord, you must be realistic and accept that get-togethers are going to happen. Christmas is the peak period for social gatherings, so speak to tenants in advance and work together to set rules and guidelines.
Encourage tenants to respect neighbours, not to cause a nuisance and keep noise to a minimum.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly…
Landlords don’t love Christmas decorations, but tenants will want to make their home feel more festive and it’s important to be accommodating. Talk it through in advance and issues can be avoided.
Encourage tenants to ensure Christmas lights are safe and be clear about where you stand on putting nails in walls. It might require compromise from both ends, but having a conversation can avoid issues and ill-will.
Talk about additional fire risks
Christmas lights can present problems if they’re old or faulty, but there are other festive fire risks to consider also. Some tenants like to light candles, so landlords should urge caution, whilst overloaded sockets and adaptors are a common issue that can end in tragedy.
Encourage tenants to unplug Christmas tree lights whenever leaving the house or before going to bed.
Organise an inspection
Landlords should strive to organise regular inspections – and the festive season is the perfect time to check in and ensure all is in order. Is routine maintenance required? Do tenants have concerns or issues to address?
This is a good opportunity to check plans, discuss rules and ensure the Christmas season passes without problems.
Driving home for Christmas?
If tenants are planning to leave properties unoccupied over Christmas, you need to be aware. Empty homes are attractive to intruders, whilst landlords should always be looking out for signs of trouble should the weather turn wintry.
Remind tenants to lock up and make sure Christmas lights have been unplugged before hitting the road.
Give a little gift
It’s the season of goodwill and giving a small Christmas gift can help maintain relations and improve the chances of a long-term tenancy.
Happy tenants are more likely to stick around – and to look after properties too. It doesn’t need to be much, but a Christmas card and a bottle of wine can work wonders.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas…
Being a landlord isn’t always easy, so be sure to take a little time for yourself and enjoy the festive season. The key is to be prepared, but follow our simple steps, make sure all is in order and, when the big day does come, you’ll find you can put your feet up by the fire and enjoy a mince pie.