The holidays are meant to be a wonderful time of the year filled with love and friends and family. Unfortunately it is also full of dangers and things can change in an instant. Now I’m not trying to fear monger here, but the fact is that nearly 47,000 fires occur during the holiday season and that’s only one type of tragedy that can occur. This isn’t taking into account car accidents, weather related injuries, or burglaries that are also often higher during this time of the year. Thankfully there are a few things that you can do to help make sure that nothing takes down your holiday spirit. One of the biggest problems during this time of the year is the concern of fires. Candle fires, for example, are four times more likely to occur during the holidays than any other time of the year. Having a tree can also be dangerous if it is allowed to dry out, as they quickly become fire hazards. It has been reported that one in every 22 fires that are started by trees result in at least one death. It doesn’t matter how much egg nog you’ve had, that is a sobering fact. Always make sure that you are using lights that are safe, that all candles are only burned when someone is watching them, and most importantly that all fire detectors are operable. Having a working smoke alarm cuts down the death rate due to fire almost by half. Another thing that you can do to help keep yourself and your family safe during this season is by making sure that you have the right tires on your car. Having snow tires can make all of the difference in the world and will help make sure everyone gets home safe from traveling to grandma’s. While you are gone, make sure that nothing has been left that can overheat and that all candles have been put out. Also, it may be a good idea to keep your curtains closed so that people can’t see what presents you got to open. From all of us here at Talley to all of you, we wish you the best holiday season. We hope to see you next year and will continue to do all we can for you and yours!
During the colder months, most of us just want to stay inside. After all, it can get pretty miserable outside, especially at night. I don’t know about you, but if I had the option between outside and inside it wouldn’t even be a choice for me. I don’t even particularly like sleeping outside while it’s warm out. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one with this thought. Often, smaller critters will try and find their way indoors to protect themselves from the elements as well. I know that when I was younger this was about the time of the year that we would start seeing mice and other vermin in our basement. Depending on how long my father accidently left the garage door open, we may even find a raccoon or a few opossums as well. While most apartment residents don’t often have this issue, at least as far as they know, a good amount of people who are renting houses do. This becomes more true the older the house is. Mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and other small creatures will tend to try and get inside to get away from the harsh cold that hits especially at night. If you have this issue you know that it’s more than just sharing a basement with a couple of tiny things with a tail. Often they will come into other parts of the house, leaving droppings and taking food. If this begins happening, it can quickly become an infestation that can take months and thousands of dollars to fix if not taken care of early. There are tons of options that you have to prevent this in the first place, however. Some people use both humane and not so nice traps while others use homeopathic tricks to keep these critters outside. Others purchase small boxes that emit a frequency that is said to keep mice and bats away. Whatever your method, be sure to keep it out of the reach of children and pets just in case. Also remember, prevention is always the best way to deal with things like this. If you can keep these animals from getting in, you will have a much better winter than someone trying to get them back out. An exterminator is never a good person to have to call for the holidays.
Autumn is always such a lovely time for many areas of our country. The changing colors are a large draw for people, even causing the term “leaf peepers” to be coined up in New England. For all of the beauty that some people see when looking at these changed trees, others see nothing but a nuisance. Having all of those dead leaves laying around their lawns and driveways can be considered unsightly and when it rains they may even become dangerous. This is just another thing that you need to be aware of as a landlord, especially if maintenance falls to you instead of to your resident. Leaf removal is one of the stickiest situations that you will find yourself in outside of snow. Most people don’t want leaves everywhere but dislike having a leaf blower running constantly. Naturally you won’t want to be outside by yourself with a rake gathering a huge pile, especially if you have a large property to deal with. This generally means that something with a motor is going to be your best bet in regards to getting all of the leaves and twigs together. So what can you do to keep everyone happy? The best time to collect leaves for removal is at a time when most people are either at work or already awake. I can speak from experience that no one likes to be woken up at seven in the morning on a Saturday by a leaf blower. If you are able to do this yourself, it will obviously save some money but hiring a company to do this is perfectly fine as well. Having people come in during normal working hours will generally prevent much complaining from your residents. Always be sure to check your township bylaws about leaf piles and removal. Some places have trucks come around to collect them while others have you purchase bags and deliver them to a certain location yourself. You always want to be sure to stay on top of these practices and remind your residents of what the law states as well. You may even want to try and have a work day where you offer food or refreshments in exchange for your residents helping out to clean up the leaves. Ask around and see if anyone would be willing to help out.
During December, many people like to decorate their homes and apartments to reflect their specific religion. Even if someone doesn’t celebrate any of the holidays, they will sometimes decorate anyway simply because they think the lights are pretty. How many of us would beg our parents to drive us around just so we could look at the different houses that were decorated in our area? I know that was always one of my favorite things to do around this time of the year. However, if you own an apartment building or complex, you may have to set some parameters on decorations. One of the eternal debates among people has always been whether you should take down the lights after the holidays or leave them up on the roof throughout the year without turning them on. While this is a decision that you can make if you own your own home without a homeowners association, it is a bit different in most housing complexes. As an example, my apartment complex allows decorations for two weeks before and two weeks after any specific holiday. It also does not allow lights to be left on overnight in the event that they may disrupt others trying to sleep. Lights that flash brightly are also not allowed for similar reasons. Most other decorations are not regulated as long as they are inside your own apartment. Obviously you don’t want to dampen anyone’s holiday spirit, however there is a level of practicality that you need to balance when it comes to the limitations of decorations that you will allow on your rental property. This is especially true if you have an apartment building or a complex that houses multiple people. Bright lights may cause an issue for others trying to sleep and the sound of fans that run those inflatable characters can keep people awake if they aren’t used to the noise. Although they may be fun to have up, you need to make sure that everyone’s comfort is balanced with the holiday cheer. If you don’t want to give out a protocol for holiday decorations, give a glance to some of them just to make sure that nothing goes against common sense. After all, the holidays can get a bit extravagant and we can all get carried away with the excitement of the season.
Around this time of the year, pet stores do a wonderful business. This is because many children want a pet for the holidays and many parents are willing to allow this as a way to teach their child responsibility. However, if they are renting from you they do need to double check that you will allow pets in your apartment. Pets can cause a bit of damage if not taken care of correctly, and if the animal is young, the problems may be even more complicated as potty training can be difficult to complete. Almost every child in America has at some point wanted a pet. Around this time of year, we see so many videos popping up online of parents gently wrapping boxes filled with puppies and kittens up with ribbons and bows so that their child can unwrap what they wanted the most. Unfortunately, if they are renting from you this means that they may have done this illegally. If your lease states that they are not allowed animals, or must have your approval beforehand, then getting a pet may just be something that isn’t possible for this year. This does unfortunately put you in a very difficult spot if a parent has gotten an animal without your approval and the child becomes attached to it. Naturally you don’t want to upset the kid who most likely didn’t even know about the clause in the lease, but if the parent did this with full knowledge that they were not supposed to allow an animal into your rental property then it can create an issue between you and the adults responsible. Allowing pets in your apartment is something that only you can make the decision on. Do remember, though, that it isn’t all or nothing. You may want to enforce a pet deposit to cover any damage that might be done by the animal or add a little bit of money onto the rent every month for the same reason. It is also fairly common for certain apartments to allow cats but not dogs, or even animals under a certain weight limit. These are generally good compromises for people who really want a furry companion. This time of year it is always a good idea to remind your residents of your pet policy just in case they are thinking of getting an animal for the holidays.