Question: I’m concerned that New Year’s Eve parties will damage my investment property – what can I do to help minimise the risk? 

Answer: By Carolyn Parrella, Executive Manager, Terri Scheer Insurance 
New Year’s Eve rental property parties can leave an expensive financial hangover and be a source of stress for unsuspecting landlords. 

Although tenants are responsible to their rental property as well as their homes, guests may not be the same. 

New Year’s Eve parties that get out of hand can leave landlords susceptible to costly damage and clean up bills, but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

There are a number of steps for landlords to “New Year’s Eve proof” their properties.

• Screen tenants 

Sometimes prevention is better than treatment. Tenants have the right to the property. However, they must show respect for the landlord. 

Asking lifestyle questions when you apply for a lease can help to avoid future problems. Is there a lot of visitors to the rental property? Are there any planned activities for the rental property’s tenants? To filter troublesome tenants, landlords can use these questions. 

An easy way to find out if there have been any incidents of damage in the past is to check your renter’s history. This could help you determine if it was due partying or other reasons. 

• Enforce lease agreement

It is a smart idea to establish the ground rules in writing. This will avoid future problems. You may be able enforce noise restrictions, such as no loud music after 10:00 p.m. or a maximum number of people allowed on the property at once. 

It’s a common oversight by landlords not to use the formal rental contract as a way to outline a tenant’s responsibilities. This can help prevent the likelihood of parties and trouble arising on New Year’s Eve. As the holiday season approaches, it’s also an opportunity to remind tenants of their obligation set out in the rental agreement. 

• Maintain relationships and communication

Maintaining a positive, open and transparent relationship with tenants will help put landlords in good stead ahead of New Year’s Eve festivities. 

Responding quickly to questions and concerns will make tenants more likely to respect the property. 

• Conduct property inspections

Property inspections can’t be negotiable. These inspections must be conducted before and after holidays. 

Regular inspections can help tenants know if they are not meeting their rental agreements if accidental or malicious damage is found. Likewise, post-New Year’s Eve inspections can help identify any accidental damage incurred during the holiday season. 

This also shows landlords that they care about their property. It reinforces the rental agreement. 

• Review insurance coverage

Property investment properties are more at risk during holidays. This makes it even more crucial to have specialized landlord insurance policies. 

Too often property investors neglect risk management until tenants move-in or something goes wrong. 

A landlord insurance policy can protect investors against the many risks that come with renting a property. You can have peace of mind and security in the case of an unplanned event. This includes the loss of rental income and malicious and accidental damage as well as liability for injuries to property owners.