One aspect of what we do at Kelson Group is our focus on Property Management. We manage apartment buildings throughout B.C. and Alberta, and even though every apartment community is different, there are many commonalities we encounter every day - especially when it comes to safety and security. Our Safe + Secure Series is our opportunity to highlight a special topic on safety and security to help you learn more about what we are doing at Kelson Group, and how our residents can participate. Even if you are not a Kelson Group resident, these tips will likely be applicable and helpful to you. Stay safe!
Kelly Fawcett, Vice President, Kelson Group
Safe + Secure: Keep Your Apartment Safe While on Vacation
Denise Cave, Alberta Property Manager with Kelson Group, knows a thing or two about getting an apartment prepared for an absence. Looking after 11 buildings and with Kelson Group since the 1990s, there have been many examples of what NOT to do leading to her list of TO DO’s when planning to vacation away from your residence more than a few days.
“First of all, avoid making it public that you will be absent and refrain from posting on social media from your far away location. It seems simple, but it’s far better to only inform a close friend, relative and your building manager that your home will be vacant for your duration and to keep an eye on things.”
Make a Safety Checklist
A ‘TO DO’ checklist starts with making sure your residence is secure, says Denise. “We recommend you review things like securing exterior locks, making sure windows are closed to prevent pests, the trash is out, window coverings shut, and perishables are removed from the fridge, especially if you are leaving more than a week.”
Prevention is so important. “If you are away during the winter, do not completely turn off your heat. You never know when a cold snap could happen. Consider using timers for your lamps or using some of the innovative ‘remote access’ light bulb and power plug outlets that work through an app on your phone. Be sure to unplug portable heating and appliances and turn off computers and devices to avoid power surge risks.”
What other arrangements should residents consider prior to vacation?
“For longer absences, we recommend suspending deliveries such as newspapers, mail, courier drops, and groceries. You don’t want an obvious indication you haven’t been home.”
Check Your Insurance Documents
Denise also recommends taking a look at your insurance, something many residents don’t consider.
“Checking to make sure your contents and liability insurance is up to date is very important. It is not only a condition of the lease, but in the best interest of your neighbours to be fully covered for things that can occur in your absence. Rental property insurance usually covers not just personal belongings, but furniture, liability, and even damages caused by something originating from your residence. Kelson Group has association with several companies who offer affordable insurance plans.”
A common condition of most policies is that if you are leaving for more than 5 days, a competent person must check in regularly as insurance can be voided if not adhered to. Many people are surprised to find out what an insurance policy does not cover, so it is important to really examine your coverage.
Keeping Your Vehicle Safe
Rounding out the suggestions for a safer vacation absence, Denise points out that informing the building manager is always a good idea, especially if you are leaving a vehicle behind.
“Let us know who has responsibility for your vehicle and where it is, plus ensure personal items have been removed and someone is checking on it. Some residents leave a key with a neighbour or their building manager in the event it needs to be moved…all helpful steps.”
Denise recommends making a list and checking it twice to enjoy a worry-free vacation.
“We always want to help our residents live better, even on holiday. With a bit of planning and notifying the right people, we can make sure everything stays secure on the home front so you can look forward to walking in your door to relax after a long travel day.”