The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. It’s also a common time of year for people to travel to spend time with family and friends.
As a rental landlord, the holidays may be your busiest time of year, depending on where you own property. Although you may have your hands full with getting your property ready between guests and ensuring there are plenty of amenities for comfort and enjoyment, safety for tenants and your property should be a top priority.
Holiday decor and traditions can come with some safety concerns. As the landlord, ensuring you prepare the property so your guests and investment remain safe if you’re not on site is crucial.
In this post, we’ll discuss five ways to keep your tenants and rental property safe around the holidays!
Table of Contents
1. Make Sure You Have Exterior Lights
The magic of the holidays often begins with the twinkle of lights, but it's not just about festive decoration—it's also about safety.
Ensure that the exterior of your rental property is well-lit to prevent accidents and deter potential intruders. Make sure any vegetation is trimmed to not obstruct the light, and regularly check them between guests to ensure they still work correctly.
Motion-activated lights can be an excellent option for walkways and entrances, as they can help you save on energy costs while creating a safe exterior for guests. Consider using LED lights to reduce the fire risk and save even more on electricity costs.
2. Keep the Risk of Fire Minimal for Decor
A beautifully decorated Christmas tree is a centerpiece of holiday cheer, but it's crucial to prioritize safety when bringing this tradition into your rental home. If you opt for a real tree, keep it fresh and well-hydrated to reduce the fire risk.
While rare, fires from real Christmas trees happen (approximately. 160-200 per year between 2011 and 2019), typically when they become too dry and are too close to a heat source. Once a tree does catch fire, it can quickly cause detrimental damage to the property and endanger everyone in it. So, if you live too far from the property to water the tree regularly, you may want someone to do it for you or use an artificial tree.
For artificial trees, check that they are flame-resistant. Place the tree away from heat sources, such as fireplaces and radiators, and remind tenants in your welcome packet to always turn off decorative lights when leaving the house or going to bed.
If there’s a fireplace at your rental, remember to have it cleaned and inspected regularly so tenants can stay toasty and safe.
|⚡ Pro Tip: Consider adding flameless LED candles to the property for a cozy ambiance without the fire risk.
3. Secure the Perimeter: Entryway and Windows
More burglaries happen around the holidays, particularly in December (about 18% more compared to the average monthly rate).
While many of us use this time to practice gratitude and give back, burglars may see it as an opportunity to target empty homes as owners travel to be with family.
As the holiday season rolls around, ensure all entryways and windows are secure and repair any damaged locks or latches. Consider installing deadbolt locks for an extra layer of security. If your rental property has a sliding glass door, place a sturdy rod or bar in the track to prevent it from being forced open.
It may also be worth the investment to install a security system and a doorbell camera to see who’s entering the property when you’re not there. With so many people entering and leaving the property (tenants, maintenance workers, cleaners, property managers, etc.), you can never be too careful.
|⚡ Pro Tip: Consider installing a smart lock system for convenient and secure keyless entry and change the password after each guest.
4. Create an Emergency Plan to Keep at the Property for Tenants
While nobody anticipates emergencies around the holidays, it's essential to be prepared for the unexpected, whether that’s a fire, extreme weather, a medical emergency, or something else.
Create an emergency plan that includes evacuation routes, the location of fire extinguishers, emergency contact information, and a first aid kit. Communicate this plan to your guests upon arrival, giving them the information they need to stay safe in an emergency. Additionally, ensure all smoke detectors are in working order with fresh batteries.
⚡Pro Tip: If you run a vacation home from out of town, ensure tenants have a resource nearby to help in an emergency that can arrive at the property immediately (e.g., property manager, neighbor, business partner).
5. Protect Your Guests' Personal Information Online
If your rental home requires online transactions or reservations, prioritize protecting your guests' personal information. The holidays can be a popular time for cyber attacks, as hackers see any time when people are away from their computers as a prime time to strike.
Invest in a secure and reputable online booking system, and ensure that your Wi-Fi network is password-protected to prevent unauthorized access. If you have laptops, iPads, or other devices as amenities for guests to enjoy, take security measures and update the devices regularly.
Lastly, communicate with your guests to let them know which email address, phone number, or platform you will use to contact them (e.g., Airbnb, VRBO, etc.), so they know if an imposter is posing as you and trying to collect their private information.
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As you deck the halls and welcome guests into your rental home this holiday season, remember that safety should be at the forefront of your preparations.
By following these five simple yet effective safety tips, you can ensure that your property remains a haven of joy, warmth, and security for everyone who visits.
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