As property managers look forward to well-earned downtime over Christmas, preparing now to avoid holiday hazards such as rental arrears will ensure a stress-free break, say leading PMs.
Coronis Realty property management director Jodi Ford said Christmas is an excellent chance for property managers to enjoy some much-deserved time off, but a little preparation will help the season stay problem-free.
“[However], 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,” she told Residential Property Manager.
“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,” she added.
Ms Ford suggested that PMs have tenants sign an Arrears Commitment Letter along with their Tenancy Agreement.
“Putting emphasis on arrears and stressing it will not be tolerated from day-one is vital,” she said. “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,” she said.
Property Management HQ director Kelley-Ann Seaton said with only 10 days until Christmas, it is well and truly the “silly season”, when often things turn hectic.
“We’re all consistently busy in the property management world, and sometimes we rarely take a break, so if you’re lucky enough to be given time off, this coming week should be all about preparation and ensuring you are super organised before your break,” she told Residential Property Manager.
“The more organised you are, the less chance of someone needing to contact you.”
Mrs Seaton said PMs should be following up all outstanding work orders and keeping tenants and owners informed of your progress.
“If you advise them now, they won’t need to call you over the break to chase you,” she said.
“With tradespeople, confirm who will be available over the Christmas break and confirm if they will be your direct office emergency contact. Ensure all tenants are aware of who to call in the event of an emergency.”
Mrs Seaton said she “bends the rule” around vacant properties. If her leasing consultant is unavailable, she makes herself available to show the property.
“I realise all my staff need a break ... even the leasing consultant – so I do keep on top of all inquiries and ensure this process continues,” she said. “Should a prospective tenant wish to view a property, we will do whatever it takes to get them through the property.
“We do this, because our nearest fellow agent might be closed, too, and not showing available properties. So, if we are flexible here, this could have our properties leased over that period.”