landlords on vacationLandlords on vacation? Yes, it is possible to take a break from the tenant phone calls, the maintenance issues, the numbers, and truly relax – here’s how!

If you own or manage rental property it is important to follow a few simple steps to make sure your property and renters are taken care of before you go on vacation. 

With the holiday season in full swing, make sure you are prepared for a smooth (and stress-free) vacation from your renters.

Step 1: Find a Trustworthy Fill In

You need to have someone on hand, and hopefully local, who can fill in for you while you are out of town. This trusty replacement will be in charge of managing all the tenant and property issues that hopefully do not take place.

Consider asking a trusted relative, an experienced friend, or another landlord (maybe exchange vacation time!) to be your replacement.  Bonus points for finding a replacement familiar with basic landlord-tenant responsibilities, giving you confidence that 

The tasks required of your temporary replacement should be minimal but they need to prepared to handle urgent tenant phone calls just in case.  Be sure to review the importance of prioritizing tenant requests, documenting communication appropriately, and protecting the property.

Step 2: Prep Your Replacement

Your stand-in landlord will need to have certain information in order to properly manage your properties while you are away.  

Consider creating a secure file for your replacement to access with relevant data regarding your tenants, vendors and properties. Remind them about the importance of keeping tenant information secure and private.  (Never give your temporary replacement access to highly secure tenant information like credit reports used for screening purposes.)

Provide your Replacement with the Following Information:

  • A list of each tenant’s rental unit, name and phone number (group roommates together and highlight the primary contact for each unit)
  • A list of preferred vendors and contact information with details about who to contact for what types of jobs (ex. plumber, electrician, locksmith)
  • Petty Cash or Business Credit Card for workorders
  • Instructions for depositing rent checks (if needed)
  • Your contact information while on vacation
  • A notebook to record all interactions, communications and incidents with tenants, vendors and the property
  • Anything unique to your properties that your replacement might need to know, like alarm codes
  • A printout of property rules if the replacement is staying onsite
  • Keys to each unit for emergency situations
  • Reminder of basic landlord-tenant laws regarding rights to enter, communication guidelines, etc.  

Clearly communicate what constitutes an emergent and non-emergent maintenance issue with your replacement.  Have your replacement understand the importance of contacting emergency maintenance vendors for things like water leaks, gas leaks, electrical issues or broken HVAC systems (especially in winter).  Essentially anything that puts your tenants or the property in danger needs to be handled right away.

Step 3: Inform Your Tenants

Let your tenants know you are going out of town and your replacement will be available for all rental related issues.  They will need the name and number of your fill in. Avoid giving tenants your contact information of where you will be on vacation—let them know that if they need you for any reason to go through the contact person first.

If you will be out of town on the first, remind your tenants that rent will still be due on the expected date and the usual late fee policies will be in place.  Now is also a good time to remind your tenants about what constitutes as emergency maintenance issues, and that you appreciate their patience and understanding for any delay of non-emergent requests (like fixing a closet door that pops off its tracks).

Step 4: Give Your Vendors a Heads Up

Let your go-to maintenance vendors know you will be out of town and your replacement will be contacting them with any issues.  Provide your vendors with written approval that your replacement has the authority to create work orders and schedule maintenance as needed.

While the idea of vacation may seem impossible with so many renters and properties to keep happy, every landlord deserves a few days (or weeks!) off every year.

Take time to find a great fill in who you can trust, prep them with the right info to manage your renters, let your renters and vendors know your replacement is in charge and allow yourself to disconnect, or least confidently ignore a few phone calls, for a while.