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Preparing For the Silly Season: What You Need to Know and Do

By Liam O'Boyle

As the Christmas season starts to near, the market slows and budgets are tight. For those that own or manage rental properties, this can be a stressful time – dealing with last-minute problems and tenant’s financial hardships. We’ve created this guide to help sort your property, your tenants and yourself out before Christmas so everyone can enjoy a holiday.

Communicate with your tenants or company

If you plan on going away over Christmas, let your tenants or property manager know as soon as possible and leave preferred (and easily reachable) contact details with them in case of an emergency. If tenants are holidaying elsewhere, ensure you know their general plans and have their contact details.

For those that self-manage properties and will be leaving the country for more than 21 days, by law you must appoint an agent or property manager to look after your property while you are absent.

Filing a Tenancy Tribunal application close to Christmas? Indicate on the application if you are going on holiday. An application could be dismissed if you are unreachable close to or on the day.

Get urgent maintenance done NOW

If you have any maintenance to arrange, categorize your tasks in order of urgency. Many trades businesses shut down over the holidays, making finding tradesmen impossible or expensive. Create a list of businesses that you know will be operating during the holiday, just in case something unexpected pops up. Preventative maintenance is better (and cheaper) than having to fix anything that’s broken, so ensure cleaning has been done and any seasonal tasks are out of the way. These can include:

-Inspecting/testing any fire extinguishers or security systems

-Replacing batteries in smoke detectors

-Cleaning gutters

-Inspecting/servicing air conditioning units

-Eradicating any insect problems

-Fixing any broken windows or screens, or

-Inspecting the exterior of the property for any cracks, chipped/ peeling paint or holes, and fixing as necessary

When you get back from holiday, you’ll be glad you did everything before you left!

Keeping properties and tenants safe over Christmas

Though Christmas is often a time of joy and celebration, the bad side of the holiday includes break-ins, accidents and disasters. If the property will be empty over the holiday, there are a few things that will help keep the property safe and secure:

-Ensure all animals are being cared for by a neighbour or reliable animal boarding house

-Stop deliveries of any papers for the duration of the holiday

Use timers to activate lights or a radio so the property looks/sounds lived in

-Ensure your security system is on and operating

-Ask a neighbour to collect mail and keep an eye on the property

-Turn off electronics to save power and prevent a fire

-Make sure all doors and windows are closed and locked!

Maximise the safety of your investment and tenants over the holidays. Some tips you could provide remaining tenants are:

-Examine any decorative Christmas lights carefully, if they are broken, splitting or short-circuiting, do not use them

-Ensure the safe operation and placement of Christmas lights, including using ladders correctly and having someone supervising

-Do not overload power points with numerous plugs and power boxes

-Keep an eye on cooking food, especially barbeques or outdoor ovens/fire pits

-Place Christmas trees in an open spot where they are away from power points or candles

-Extinguish all candles before going to bed

-Keep children away from candles, matches, decorative lights, small objects and cooking food

Lastly, have a great and safe holiday!

Having your property managed by McPherson Property Management will ensure your property is thoroughly managed safely and professionally over the Christmas holidays (and of course throughout the year). How do you prepare for Christmas? Were these tips helpful? Tell us about it in a comment below.

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