Christmas is an excellent time of year for property managers to have time off, yet in our industry there is often a price to be paid for some peace and quiet.
While it’s tempting to wind down leading up to the holidays, being prepared and putting in a little extra effort before you take time off can help make the festive season go smoother for everyone involved.
First and foremost, setting the standards from the start of the tenancy with your owners, tenants and creditors will help you maintain a high quality of service throughout the year.
Arrears are usually the most significant problem over the Christmas period. Of course, this can occur any time during the year, so here are a few things you can do to lessen the impact:
§ Get your tenants to sign an Arrears Commitment Letter when they sign their Tenancy Agreement. Putting emphasis on arrears and stressing it will not be tolerated from day-one is vital.
§ Follow through and issue a Notice to Remedy and Notice to Leave if the tenant slips into arrears, to reinforce the agreed-upon standards. This will significantly reduce arrears problems, but keep in mind, they are not completely unavoidable during the Christmas period, so be prepared for this.
§ Set your owners’ expectations in advance. Advise them their tenants may slip into arrears over Christmas, but reassure them you are prepared to deal with it. This will reduce the amount of calls you receive, as the owners know it was anticipated and you have the necessary strategy in place.
A few other considerations regarding maintenance issues will also mean you have a stress-free and relaxing break.
§ Ensure your maintenance is completely up-to-date before you go on leave. Property managers who procrastinate on maintenance issues will often find problems blow up when they least expect it. Being prepared will mean you only have to deal with last-minute, urgent issues in the unlucky event they do arise, meaning less interruptions for your holiday break.
§ Send an email to owners and tenants in the months leading up to Christmas. Generally, tenants and owners will also be on leave, giving them time to think about what needs to be done at the property. A timely reminder will prompt them to let you know about these things in advance so you can get them rectified before Christmas.
§ Prepare your creditors and notify your owners and tenants that maintenance will be handled differently over the break. Advise tenants that only urgent maintenance issues will be addressed during this period, and pass on the emergency contact details of approved emergency plumbers and electricians for them to contact directly.
§ Make sure your creditors know what is urgent maintenance and what can be done at a later date, so they don't need to contact you to find out what they can and can't do. Notify your owners that only urgent maintenance issues will be addressed and your creditors will leave less important jobs until after Christmas.
Doing these simple things will give you some well-earned holiday time and allow you to recharge before starting the New Year with a bang.