How To Protect Yourself And Your Tenants This Holiday Season

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How to Keep Tenants Happy and Healthy During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us and while that can mean extra cheer in the air, it can also spell extra stress for landlords and multifamily operators.

While property owners are always worried about safety issues, there is no better time than the holiday season to remind tenants of some basic tips to keep themselves and their property safe.

From dealing with guest parking to enforcing existing exterior/interior decoration policies, here are a few tips to keep tenants happy and safe while minimizing wear and tear on units during the holiday season.

Spread the Word

While existing holiday policies are most likely already in your tenant’s lease, it helps to send a reminder.

Try sending a friendly holiday greeting via e-mail or direct mail with reminders on existing policies. You can also post on the community board or in shared spaces at the property like the front office, gym or elevators. Or, if you regularly send a newsletter to tenants, holiday safety is a perfect topic to include.

Providing a written notification allows you to cover all necessary information for tenants, leaving no room for confusion. It also creates a reference for tenants to refer back to. This will also ensure that the relay of information is the same from unit to unit and removes room for interpretation.

When communicating policies with tenants, earlier is always better so you can have time to respond to specific questions from them such as where they are able to put up string lights outside their unit or why they aren’t allowed to put up decorations on their balcony or porch.

For example, turkey fryers are especially popular during Thanksgiving but are an extreme fire hazard. Establishing guidelines for turkey fryers is vitally important for the safety of all tenants as well as their property and yours.

Indoor Christmas lights are another serious fire hazard. String lights that are more than a few years old have small wires that are easily damaged through normal use. Broken and cracked sockets as well as bare, damaged or frayed wires can present a dangerous situation waiting to happen. The National Fire Protection Association reports that each year, one quarter of Christmas tree fires are caused by the presence of a flame or other heat source and 35% of fires are caused by electrical equipment.

Another example would be if your property has a designated spot for Christmas tree disposal. That is something that should be communicated to tenants early so that they don’t dispose of trees in improper areas after the holiday. It also can make having and disposing of a Christmas tree easier for tenants.

Above all, make sure to promptly respond to questions from tenants, even if it is just to acknowledge that you received the question. Remember to always remain calm, kind and as flexible as possible when dealing with tenants.

Important Policies

Common items that should be addressed before the holidays include:

  • Guest parking for tenants hosting holiday parties
  • Noise policies for holiday parties
  • Decoration and safety policies for common areas, balconies, doors and the interior of units
  • Cooking policies for grills, outdoor smokers and turkey fryers
  • Smoking policy
  • Chimney and fireplace cleaning policies
  • Package delivery guidelines for tenants sending and receiving gifts, especially for smaller communities without publicly-accessible common areas for UPS and other carriers
  • Cleaning policies for interior and exterior of units to avoid excessive wear and tear

The end goal during the holiday season is to keep your renters happy and safe as well as keeping your property protected from excessive wear and unnecessary damage.

Also, consider giving a small gift to tenants before the holidays such as a gift card or even a small end-of-year rent reduction. The small effort on your part may last throughout the year and can help with future turnover. The rewards can be well worth it.

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