Best Advice To Give Your Spring Break Vacation-Bound Renters

By Julia Dunn on March 7, 2018

If you rent property to college students, you are probably aware of the fast-approaching phenomenon that is spring break–a week (or two) between March and April where many students leave town in search of some fabulous adventures, relaxation, and entertainment.

While not every student chooses to leave town–some of us have inflexible jobs, local obligations, or simply no desire to fuss over traveling–plenty of students look forward all of Spring term to doing so. As a property manager, it is a good idea to remind your tenants of a few housekeeping issues before they split. Most of your tenants are probably good about maintaining their spaces (after all, you wouldn’t rent to irresponsible tenants), but you can never be too safe. Here are 5 pieces of housekeeping advice to give your renters if they do intend to leave for spring break:

Image via Pexels

1. Clean out your fridge

Your tenants may think their food will be fine for nine days–it’s in your best interest to remind them that it surely will not be! Leaving perishable food in the fridge for extended periods of time is never good; old produce, or a knocked-over bottle of orange juice, could stain your refrigerators or make for a truly sticky mess upon your tenants’ return.

2. Unplug your appliances and electronics 

Tell tenants to unplug all appliances before they leave for break; coffee pots, fans, lamps and chargers have no reason to be plugged in for days on end. According to mother nature network, “All things plugged in will bleed some energy. Called ‘standby’ electricity loss because it’s so often associated with electronics in standby or idle mode, it’s also known as ‘phantom’ or ‘vampire’ electricity (for obvious reasons).” Remind tenants that it simply isn’t enough to switch these devices off–many appliances continue to draw power even when powered off.

You’ll also want to tell tenants to set their thermostats so that they aren’t wasting lots of energy on heating or air conditioning (if it’s hot outside, keep the thermostat set to a higher temperature—if it’s cold, keep it low).

3. Clean!

Encourage your tenants to clean their house before they leave for spring break. For one, it will be great for them to return to a clean house, and for two, you can be sure that they are taking care of your property in their absence. You might send out an email to your tenants reminding them to at least tidy up before they go: check for any mold in the bathtub (and apply treatments to get rid of it), scrub the windows or walls, do all the dishes in their sinks, and vacuum.

Advise tenants to sweep their floors before leaving and to make sure they take out the trash (namely the kitchen trash, but really, every trash can in the house). Even a few crumbs on the floor could attract critters like mice or insects into your properties, and who wants to deal with exterminators and pest control products? Your student tenants don’t, and I’m willing to bet that you don’t either.

Image via Pexels

4. Protect against break-ins

As a landlord, you know that a house or apartment that is vacant even for just a week is at risk of being broken into, especially if it looks empty. Remind your tenants to check that the locks are working on all of their doors. Additionally, tell them not to leave their blinds or curtains open. A clear view into a house or apartment simply screams “break in! Break in!” If your properties have lights that can be configured with a timer, remind tenants to schedule a light to come on at some point during the day so that it looks like people are home.

Additionally, if you know the range of dates in which your tenants will be gone, you might consider driving by to check that everything looks fine from the exterior. It’s best to take every precaution you can to make outsiders think that your properties are occupied even when they’re empty for a week.

5. Make arrangements for mail

This may be obvious for you, but student tenants may not realize that after a certain number of days, the U.S. postal service will take all of your mail and hold it in one of their facilities if it appears no residents are collecting it. Tenants may be in for an inconvenient surprise upon their return if they come back home and check their mailbox only to find a Post-It note that says “vacant” on it, and they won’t be thrilled to hear that their letters and packages have all been returned to sender. If you’re looking to win the informal “best landlord of the year” award, you might even email your tenants a link to the USPS Hold Mail website where they can request to have their mail stored away while they are out of town.

Spring break doesn’t have to be stressful on you. The more advice you provide student tenants in advance about maintenance and property care, the less work you have to do in terms of household repairs!

By Julia Dunn

Uloop Writer
UC Santa Cruz
A writer, editor and educator based in Northern California.

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