Christmas is often dubbed “the most wonderful time of the year”. However, for landlords, it can also be one of the most stressful.
One of the issues with Christmas is that your tenants can become pre-occupied with all the festive activities and so forget their responsibilities.
In order to prevent issues arising, it is therefore advisable for landlords to prepare for Christmas in advance, and at Just Landlords we can show you how.
Anticipate rent arrears
Unfortunately, Christmas is one of the most common times for tenants to fall into rent arrears, due to the fact that they have to stretch their budgets to include money for presents, food and festive activities.
Recently, the tenant referencing and rent collection specialists Landlord Assist warned landlords to create a contingency plan for December and the New Year in order to protect themselves against rent arrears.
Rent guarantee insurance is just one of the ways that this can be achieved. However, you could also set aside some extra money in order to make sure you have enough to spend over Christmas. It’s essential you don’t let late rent payments have an impact on your business both this year and the next.
Protect unoccupied properties
You will probably find that a number of your tenants will choose to go away for the festive period and if this is the case, you need to be extra careful that their homes are secure while empty.
Crime rates often increase over Christmas, due to the fact that houses contain expensive presents that are easy to steal.
Furthermore, as most people have friends and family visit during Christmas, neighbours become less wary about people they don’t know being on their street or even in their neighbours houses, so something that would usually seem out of the ordinary would not be noticed or acted upon.
If your tenants do go away for Christmas, it may be advisable to ask them to tell their neighbours beforehand, so that they can make sure your property stays safe during their trip.
Make time to turn off
As a landlord, you are probably used to being on call at all hours and having to spend evenings and weekends helping your tenants. However, you deserve to enjoy your Christmas too, which is why you should plan ways to turn off.
Firstly, you need to contact your tenants and let them know that you will be unavailable for a few days. However, if there is an emergency, they can call you on a certain number. You could even tell them that you won’t be picking up emails so that you don’t have to be tied to your computer on Christmas Day.
Luckily, your tenants will more than likely assume you will be taking some time off over Christmas, however, if there is an emergency they will definitely call. Try not to let this ruin your break, and have measures in place to deal with emergencies quickly and easily, should they arise.
Make a plan for the New Year
New Year is a time to create resolutions and adaptations for your business that will make it more successful in the future, however, you can always start early!
Over Christmas, why not have a think about what will make life easier for both you and your tenants over the next year, such as changing the way you manage communication between you both.
If you find yourself utterly warn out by the time you sit down on Christmas Day, you could even start thinking about hiring a letting agent to help run your business.
Christmas is also a great time for giving back, and there is a great deal that landlords can do in order to help with the growing homelessness crisis in the UK.
There are a huge number of things you can do to improve your business as well as the private rental sector, so make sure you take the time to think about which resolutions you could make for next year.
By planning ahead for Christmas, you will be able to enjoy time with your friends and family while knowing that your business is safe.
Furthermore, you can make sure your business gets off to a great start in 2014, making it an even more successful year.