Yet another holiday checklist…

It’s summertime, and our thoughts are turning to hotels and holidays!

Being a Renter Nomad can be a bit like living in a hotel, in that there are a lot of people with keys to your space, and it’s harder to keep them out while you’re away than settled folk might imagine.

That can be an advantage, of course. If there is a fire, break-in or other emergency (which the helpful neighbours have reported to your LL or managing agent), someone can do something about it without breaking a door or window to get in.

Yet equally, someone can enter in your absence, whether to inspect or for some other purpose. We once agreed for sales viewings to take place in our rented house while we were away because of the hassle of accommodating viewings while we were there. For some reason, our son was always a bit upset to have people walking through the house, looking at things (but carefully not looking at us)…

Our preparations for that scenario should be the master checklist of any Renter Nomad going on holiday for an extended period (more than a few days).

Don’t let these assumptions upset you. I am not saying dreadful things will happen in your absence. However, your home is not perfectly secure, and it would be sad and silly not to take precautions. This scepticism could also preserve your (hopefully) sensible, arms’ length relationship with your LL/ agent.

  • Personal documents certainly out of sight, but ideally locked up. Think of identity theft, and the sheer embarrassment of someone’s seeing your GP letter about a urinary tract infection!

  • Valuables locked up, or even moved to friends and family for safe-keeping. I certainly don’t take all my jewellery and tech on holiday! With people potentially walking about in your home (and we knew there would be), any insurance claim could be quite tricky.

  • Post stopped. Royal Mail will hold the post, including any redirections from previous addresses AND, I’ve just confirmed through experience, post for any friends which you are helpfully receiving. The service is called “Keepsafe” and the only pain is that it has to be set up by phone or… post.

  • Fridge, bread bin and fruit bowl cleared. No-one wants to meet flies on their return.

  • Crumbs swept away – this is a matter more of mice than of nosey parkers.

You might even want to do a mini-inventory with a digital camera. I once found a sales-viewer had wrenched a window lock while opening the window, and that was a viewing I was present for, albeit downstairs. If things are damaged, you have to ensure the blame is attached to the correct party.

Don’t take this talk of a mini-inventory too much to heart, though: you are not obliged to present a show-home in your absence. This is still your home, and even though you’re taking a holiday from it!

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