5 steps to ensure you can relax and recharge
Summer is coming! It’s almost upon us. That means bored kids, lots of ice cream, a paddling pool in the garden, barbecue parties, and, of course, the annual fortnight in the South of Spain. Or anywhere else that takes your fancy.
Buy-to-let landlords are no different to other people. They need time away from the day-to-day drudgery of ordinary life. They want to relax by a pool, experience different things, and enjoy a few days where the focus is on family and fun.
There’s one problem: that blessed buy-to-let property and the tenants in it! The set up that is paying for the family holiday could wreck it. Imagine sitting by the hotel’s pool and you get a phone call from an irate tenant. They demand that you send someone round to fix a leaking pipe. You’re going to spend the next few hours on and off the phone,. trying to arrange a plumber.
Every 10 minutes, the tenant phones to find out why the leak hasn’t been fixed. You have visions of a house drowning. No chance of that happening to you – you haven’t been near the pool since that first phone call. The wife and kids are not happy. Your holiday is ruined.
These five steps will stop your holiday collapsing around you. You’ll be able to jet off and relax. With no worries.
1. Find someone to step into your shoes while you’re away
This is your first step to an enjoyable and stress-free holiday. You need someone to step into your shoes. Someone trustworthy. Someone who can manage property and tenant issues while you are out of touch. Someone who is willing to be a landlord for a couple of weeks.
Who could this person be? Perhaps a friend or relative. Maybe a fellow landlord (be prepared to return the favour). Another landlord would know the role they need to do and the landlord responsibilities they are taking on.
2. Take care of all the big stuff before you jet off
You have a duty of care toward your tenants, and you certainly want your property to be safe while you are away. You probably don’t want your temporary replacement to be overloaded with tenant and property issues – they’ll never accept your request again.
Before you depart, make sure that all the big stuff is done. Ensure that you’ve completed tenancy agreements and property inventories. If possible, carry out a property inspection a couple of weeks before you leave.
If there are any repair or maintenance issues that become apparent at this inspection, arrange to have them done before you leave. Check with the tenant that repairs have been made to their satisfaction.
3. Brief your replacement
Whether an experienced landlord or a trusted friend, brief your replacement:
- Provide them with keys for your property
- Give them the contact details of your tenants
- Leave some money to pay for unexpected emergencies
- Write out a list of your maintenance staff and handymen that you use
- Give them details on how you can be contacted (i.e. phone number, email address, hotel details)
Take the time to take your replacement to each of your properties. Show them how to enter the property (make sure they know they can’t unless they have the tenant’s permission, or in an absolute emergency). Make sure they know where all the ‘emergency switches’ are – gas, electric and water.
4. Notify your tenants
Let your tenant know that you are going on your annual holiday, and inform them of your replacement.
You could do this when you inspect the property, introducing the tenant and replacement in person. This is a great opportunity to make sure there are no issues, and to put your tenant’s mind at rest. They will see that you put the tenant’s interest first.
Remind the tenant what an emergency is. Make sure you thank them for their understanding. Tell them that you will be in touch shortly after you return, and let them know what date that is.
5. Let your maintenance people know
Finally, let your maintenance people know that you plan to be away. Tell them who your replacement is, so they know that if they receive a call, they should treat it in the same manner and with the same urgency that they would if it were you who contacted them.
Never pack a suitcase and leave
As a landlord, you can’t be spontaneous when it comes to a holiday. On the other hand, you do deserve a break. Time to relax and recharge.
Find someone trustworthy to step into your shoes. Make sure they understand their responsibilities. If you have taken care of business before you go away, then your replacement shouldn’t have much to do. However, they must act in line with all the landlord laws, rules and regulations.
Let your tenants and maintenance staff know when you are leaving and when you are due to return, and introduce them to your replacement.
Take the above five steps before you leave, and you can (virtually) disconnect from the world. At least while you’re on holiday.
Of course, if you use a professional and highly qualified property management service, you won’t have any of the above hassles. To learn about effortless property management, contact Ezytrac today +44 0 1522 503 717.
Yours in Effortless Property Management,