The holidays should be a joyous time for all but, for community managers, this time of year can also raise a few big concerns about resident safety. Maintaining resident security while providing a festive and fun living experience can feel like a challenge. Thankfully, with a little extra preparation and advance communication, it’s easy to set the scene for a happy and harmonious holiday season.
Make sure that your property and its residents are prepared for the holiday season by sharing these holiday fun and safety tips in your next community newsletter.
1. Focus on Fire Safety
Before heading into the holiday season, perform safety checks in each of the units. Check gas lines, external lights, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. This is also an excellent time to ensure that all fire extinguishers are filled and in good working order.
As the holidays get closer, reach out to your residents to make sure they are aware of important holiday fire safety tips. For example:
- Be careful with any Christmas trees, light-up decorations, portable heaters, candles, or fireplaces. Ensure residents extinguish any open flames and switch off decorations before bed, when leaving the house, or if the room is unsupervised.
- Be mindful when cooking. Ensure that residents do not leave any cooking equipment unattended, know how to safely extinguish kitchen fires (baking soda on grease fires, for instance), and are aware of the dangers surrounding deep-frying turkeys.
2. Encourage Responsible Use of Common Areas
With more resident and guest foot traffic in common areas, it’s important to ensure that all walkways and common areas are clean and safe. Any holiday decorations should not block common access areas and walkways. Also, power cords and light strings should not be anywhere where other residents can trip over or get tangled up in them.
In cold weather environments, all walkable areas should be shoveled and salted in a timely manner. This prevents slipping hazards on the property, both on-foot and in-vehicle.
If your community has any common areas for residents and their guests to use during the holiday season, ensure that residents are aware of the common area usage policies (i.e. is space available on a first-come-first-served basis or can it be reserved in advance). This helps to avoid any risk of disagreement and confusion during this busy time.
3. Remind Residents About Guest Policies
With more guests on the grounds, it’s critical that residents be reminded that they are responsible for the conduct and safety of their guests. Whether it’s violating noise regulations, swimming in the pool after hours, or illegal activity, if a resident’s guests are not following the rules, the resident can be penalized.
If your community has secure access, it’s also a good time to remind residents not to let in unknown “visitors”, even if it feels impolite. Visitors may be a guest of someone living on the property, or they may not. Especially during this time of year, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
It’s also important to share rules for guests and overnight visitors, holiday parking changes, or any other restricted activities. Some important things to clarify:
- Are guests able to stay overnight? How long are guests allowed to stay before it becomes a violation of the lease agreement?
- Where are guests allowed to park?
- Do guests need permits to park on-site or nearby?
A few gentle reminders can help avoid time spent settling arguments over parking or music blaring after midnight.
4. Share Tips for Traveling During the Holidays
As residents prepare to go out of town for the holidays, sharing holiday travel safety tips will not only help residents keep their personal property safe, but also help maintain a safe overall community living experience.
One commonly shared tidbit is not announcing travel plans loudly in public or online. This is the easiest way for burglars to know when people will be gone, making them a target for holiday home break-ins. Other things residents can do to deter holiday burglars:
- Stop newspaper and mail delivery during their vacation.
- Put home lamps or holiday lights on timers to make homes appear occupied.
- Ensure all doors and windows are locked when leaving.
While many of these are common sense tips, it is helpful to reshare as more residents go out of town during this time of year than around any other holiday throughout the year. By taking precautions prior to traveling, you can deter burglars around the community for residents both away and at home.
5. Discuss How to Safely Receive Holiday Packages and Gifts
The number of packages a property receives increases dramatically during the holiday season. In fact, a recent study by the National Multifamily Housing Council shows that the average apartment community typically receives 150 packages per week, and that number jumps to 270 packages per week during the holidays – an 81% increase1.
For residents concerned about having their holiday deliveries nabbed by porch pirates, offering extended common area package pick-up hours or installing an outdoor package drop box such as smart parcel lockers, can help both community managers and residents deal with the growing package influx2.
In addition to ensuring packages arrive safely, it is also important to advise residents not to leave their high-value gifts unattended or in plain sight. Doing so can act as a sort of burglar bait, not just for their home but for anyone nearby. Instead, suggest that residents tuck high-value items away and carefully dispose of boxes to deter potential burglars on the property.
While there are many concerns posed by the holiday season, package management problems should be the least of your worries. That’s why we created our Parcel Pending smart lockers: to provide a truly comprehensive solution to all of your package management challenges.
We act as a strategic partner to ensure that each property’s unique needs are met, whether it’s by customizing configurations and workflows or providing marketing support and collateral to ensure successful resident adoption. We even offer convenient resident tools like “vacation mode”, which allows for safe delivery of your residents’ packages while they’re out of town as well as an easy pick-up on their return.
Find out how we can make a difference for your property and your residents. Connect with a member of our team here.
- National Multifamily Housing Council. (2018, November 14). Special Delivery: 2018 NHMC/Kingsley Package Delivery Report [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.nmhc.org/news/
- Parcel Pending. How to Manage the Holiday Package Influx. (2019, October 23). https://www.parcelpending.com/blog/how-to-manage-the-holiday-package-influx/.