For many local business owners, as for everyone, 2020 has been a hectic year, to say the least. Whether you have your own property to look after or are juggling managing a few across Paisley, it helps to have a clear head and know what to be looking out.
With the colder months coming in, bills and all sorts are going to be a big priority, so what can someone looking after different properties do to make sure the tail end of the year isn’t full of headaches? Thanks to the advice from the experts at Ross and Liddell, here are some vital tips for local business owners on how to deal with property management at this time of year.
Double-check water rates
Since 2017, the exemption on water rates for empty commercial properties has been lifted. Ever since then, empty buildings in the area which might not even use a drop of water could have been getting charged for water, sewerage, and drainage.
If you have properties you definitely know aren’t using water and are getting bills, nip it in the bud now. It most cases, Scottish Water are sending out bills because the property doesn’t have a water meter installed, so they go off the rateable value of the property. Getting a water meter installed is easier (and cheaper) than you think, and it’s a small cost to pay rather than having bills for years on end.
Talk with tenants about rent now
With lockdown and guidelines changing every day, it isn’t just owners/landlords who are feeling the pinch. Your tenants, especially if they work in any service-based industry, are going to be affected by Covid in the biggest way possible.
That’s why it is important to have a line of communication with them to address rent and tenancy. You want to do so in a positive manner to build rapport and help tenants feel at ease. Don’t be afraid to ask them how they are for their commitment (they’ll have signed a contract after all), if they feel they’ll have any problems in the next few months with rent etc.
You essentially want to have a clear idea of where they’re at, and how you might be able to help them. It’s much better to have a happy tenant who is worried about paying on time, rather than one who will ignore calls and be hard to reach.
Check on service charges
A bit like credit card bills causing quite the surprise after Christmas, if you have any property which needs non-essential or annual services carried out, make sure that invoices are primed and ready to go. Doing so can help immeasurably when you start budgeting and planning 2021, helping to avoid second-guessing of what the first few months of the new year will look like.
Check on repairs
The same notion applies to repairs. While everyone is rightly tightening their belts just now, you don’t want to let small repairs go the wayside. It’s the difference between paying someone for a small job now or facing nasty surprises from problems that snowball.
At this time of year, that would include the likes of leaks, heating on the fritz etc. Problems like these also tie back to unhappy tenants, which you really don’t want on your plate.
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