A Thanksgiving Checklist for Your College Tenants
As the Thanksgiving week kicks off, we are all looking forward to family and a big turkey dinner. But before your college students leave for home, there are a few things to keep in mind for your units. I’ve compiled three checklist items for your college tenants based on a semester of living off campus in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
Hopefully my experiences can help you become better prepared as a property manager for the holiday season. If you have one of your tenant’s e-mail, send them a friendly reminder. They have probably received similar checklists before, but you don’t want this year to be the year they forget to lock up or turn off the lights when they’re running late to catch a flight home.
Checklist Item 1: Lock you doors. All of them.
This seems obvious, but when students are running late on their way to the airport, the last thing on their mind will be to double check the side door to the garage.
Locking doors is always important, but college vacations are public knowledge, including to the unwanted, shady burglar. In the dense student housing near Boston College, there are always a couple of groups of students who come back to a home that has been picked over by unwanted visitors. Not a great welcome home, and also another item on your plate to take care of.
Want to improve your chances of avoiding the situation all together? Invest in a light timer for your tenants so it looks like someone is in the living room at 9pm on Thursday night. It may cost a little upfront, but will save in the long run when prowling robbers think someone is actually home.
Checklist Item 2: Turn down your heaters… but not too low.
If you are on the hook for the utilities bill, it’s especially important to turn down the thermostat for units in areas that freeze. While you don’t want to be heating a house at 70 degrees with no one to appreciate the warmth, you also don’t want pipes spontaneously exploding. Spontaneous explosions are never good, so avoid them. Keep your heater at a comfortable 55 degrees.
Checklist Item 3: Close your windows.
This is a combination of Checklist Items 1 and 2. First, you don’t want those burglars hopping in through an open window on the second floor. Second, leaving the windows open means cold air freely flows into your unit.
In the duplex I lived in off campus last year, the group of girls next door closed all the windows, except one. What a terrible mistake. That one window resulted in a $452 heating bill, and a couple of broken pipes in their bathroom – another headache to deal with. It’s a lose-lose in both situations, so make sure your student tenants close all the windows.
Take a few minutes this morning and draft a simple e-mail to your tenants before they head home. And while you aren’t trying to befriend these students, an e-mail gives you another opportunity to build a relationship and hopefully keep these students as tenants next year.