We live in a mobile environment. Not a digitally mobile environment, but a physically mobile environment. Companies often lure skilled professionals with temporary contracts furnished with enticing bonuses and travel packages to fill critical worker shortages. These traveling professionals create opportunities for property managers that are hard to ignore – high salaries, generous rent reimbursements and often, corporate contracts.
Although there are definitely potential financial benefits for landlords who lease to people who travel extensively, maintaining accurate contact information for a traveling nurse, a foreign dignitary or an in-demand photo journalist can be challenging.
Building a Tenant Contact File
Whether you lease to a traveling nurse on a month-long assignment in Dubai or to an oilfield worker on rotation in the West Texas Permian Basin, it is critical to build a complete contact file and a unique protocol to protect your property and drive decision-making during an emergency. It might be wise to consider designing a specific lease rider for tenants who are away more than they are home.
Consider the following circumstances as you design the addendum.
Access to vehicle. If parking lot damage requires extensive repair and resurfacing, or other circumstances mean vehicles must be moved, is there someone local with a key to your tenant’s vehicles? If not, who is responsible for towing and storage? Should you recommend or require off-site storage during extended absences?
Creating touch-points. Establishing multiple lines of communication is essential. Especially if your tenant is gone for thirty days or more, you should communicate frequently via email, text, telephone or written correspondence. Updating contact information quarterly will ensure you have accurate data in the file. Resident portals are an excellent communication tool to allow online payments and updates.
Customize guest policy. Some tenants engage house sitters, plant maintenance services or commercial cleaning crews. Your property policies should meet your tenant’s needs and protect your assets from sub-letting situations. Depending on your community goals and standard security measures, you may ask for identification from people entering the apartment while your tenant is away or request a list of people with permission to enter before each departure.
Missing person protocol. What happens if your renter doesn’t return when expected? How long should you wait before contacting the police or other interested parties when you can’t reach your tenant directly?
Major weather events and other property damage. Whether there is damage from a natural disaster, a fire or a water leak originating from another apartment, prompt cleanup is necessary to prevent further damage from exposure.
Does your resident have a local insurance agent or a legal representative with authority to remove personal property or secure the unit? Is there a written or video record of personal inventory? What protocol will you follow if there is damage from criminal activities?
Is this your dream tenant niche?
Leasing to residents who travel extensively for work or pleasure requires a unique strategy. With customizable property management software, tenant portals and some advance planning, you may find that traveling tenants are the dream tenants you’ve been searching for.