Top tips for landlords at Christmas
This time of year is associated with turkey, mulled wine, and celebrations, but it can also be also a key one for landlords.
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure your tenants are happy and your rental properties remain in tip-top shape over the festive period.
A small gift?
A strong landlord-tenant relationship is important to the success of any tenancy and makes a long-term agreement more likely. To improve relations and keep your tenants content, it can be a nice idea to provide them with a small Christmas gift or even just a Christmas card.
Flexibility is key
Allowing your tenants to decorate as they see fit can help a rental property to feel more like a home. If tenants can create a homely, festive vibe, it stands to reason they will be happier and are more likely to look after your property as if it is their own.
Make sure you agree with your tenants on what can and can't be done when it comes to decorations, so there is no confusion at a later date.
Protection from the elements
Not all your tenants will stay put over the Christmas period, especially if they are students. If you let to this demographic, your rental homes are highly likely to be unoccupied during December as tenants head home to celebrate Christmas with their families.
Equally, young professionals who have moved away from their home town for work purposes may look to return for a few weeks, while tenants with young children may also be spending Christmas elsewhere.
Consequently, your rental home could be left empty at a time of year when the cold weather bites and the chances of damp, frozen pipes and blocked gutters is much higher. With this in mind, you need to make sure you communicate with your tenants to know for sure if they'll be spending an extended period of time away.
If they are planning to do so, it is worth your while asking them to set the heating to come on at least once a day to warm the house and prevent pipes from freezing over.
To offset the threat of damp and mould, the home needs to be properly ventilated. Windows should be opened on a regular basis (even if this is only for a few minutes at a time), especially in areas of the house – such as bathrooms and kitchens – where steam and condensation is more widespread. Clearing the gutters is also a pragmatic, sensible move.
Plan to prevent
During the winter months, it's best to nip any possible issues in the bud early as prevention is nearly always better than cure. There are tell-tale signs for things like cracked pipes, mould and damp, and it's a good idea to make sure that the boiler, central heating and drainage system in all your properties are functioning properly.
If your tenants report issues with cold draughts, there are reasonable and easy ways to work to resolve this – including draught excluders and draught proofing of doors and windows.
Don’t forget security
Homes – particularly ones that are left empty – are more vulnerable at Christmas, with criminals known to target properties at this time of year.
There are a number of steps you can take to keep your properties safe even while tenants are away – including installing burglar alarms, asking neighbours to keep an eye out for unusual activity, ensuring all doors and windows are securely locked and making sure that letters or packages aren't left stuck in the door or sitting outside the home.