Holidays! It’s time to celebrate! But not before taking care of these five property management ‘musts’!
It’s that time of the year – when thoughts turn to celebrating and vacationing. But just because the business year is winding down, it doesn’t mean you can forget about your rental.
Whether you’re planning on taking off for a holiday or staying put and just chilling, there are a few things you should do so that you actually get to rest and relax – no-one wants to be dragged away from their holiday to deal with an issue at the investment property.
With some proactive planning, you can be prepared for the holidays, ensure you get a break – and make sure that your rental is looked after.
Check in with tenants – The holiday season can be tough on the family purse, and having a good relationship with your tenant can mean that they let you know about any financial difficulties they may be having before it becomes a major problem. It’s also a good idea to ask about your tenants’ own holiday plans. If they are going away, you can arrange to check in on the property to make sure all is well, and it may also present a good time to attend to maintenance issues. If your tenants will be away for a long period, it might pay to ask them to shut off the water mains and gas and unplug any non-essential electrical appliances. Also, check in with your landlord insurer about the length of time the rental can be unoccupied before they consider it to be vacant.
Watch out for rent arrears – It’s an expensive time of the year for many and some tenants may put celebrating the season ahead of paying their rent. The sad fact is insurance claims for loss of rent spike in the first three months of the year. As the cost of living crisis continues to bite into household budgets, the risk of tenants getting behind on their rent is heightened by the pressures to embrace the costlier side of the season. It’s easy for one late, partial or missed payment to suddenly become weeks in arrears. Be vigilant and get on top of any rent arrears before they spiral out of control.
Communicate your plans – Stuff happens. And when stuff happens at your rental, your tenants need to know who to call. If you are going away, or won’t be reachable, you need to let the tenants know who to contact instead. If you’re a self-managing landlord, you may need to get a friend or relative to step in should your tenants need to get in touch urgently.
Have an emergency plan for urgent repairs – You’ll need to have a plan in place to deal with urgent and emergency repairs. This time of year is the height of disaster season. So, it’s best to have a plan in place should the worst happen, and your rental is damaged. Remember the insurance policy includes an obligation to act to prevent further loss, so tenants will need to know what to do. It’s also important to remember that emergency and urgent repairs need to be addressed within legislated timeframes. As many tradies will be taking holidays, make sure you (and anyone representing you) have a list with several tradie contacts in case an urgent repair is needed.
Increase property security efforts – The festive season and summer holidays are wonderful times of the year… for thieves. Home burglaries spike during December and January, so reminding tenants about security might save everyone some grief. Consider giving tenants a home security checklist which includes things like: locking up properly, setting alarms, using sensor lights and keeping entrances well-lit. It’s also a good idea to remind tenants that they need their own renters’ contents insurance, as the landlord’s insurance does not cover their personal possessions.
One last thing…
Proactive property management is invaluable at this time of year. It can potentially save you from having to interrupt your break to deal with issues at the rental. But even with the most thorough planning, sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. By having the right landlord insurance policy in place, you can help financially safeguard the property from a range of risks and insured events.
Talk to a member of our Expert Care team about cover for your rental – 1800 661 662.
*While we have taken care to ensure the information above is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances and legislation after the displayed date may impact the accuracy of this article. If you need us we are here, contact 1800 661 662 if you have any questions.
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