When you rent out property for vacation or short-term rentals, it’s important to create a log book / house book for your property. This applies even if you rent out only the spare bedroom in your home. As time goes by, your home logbook will prove to be invaluable.
If you have a good repair/maintenance person who looks after your property then he or she will develop and maintain the log book for you.
The document simply records the dimensions and details of your home, plus work that has been done. This simple procedure will be sure to save you time and money.
The book should record the dimensions of your home. Ideally, this should be a floorplan with the dimensions marked accordingly. Draughtsmanship skills are not required – the floorplan doesn’t need to be to scale or beautifully drawn. It’s the dimensions that are the important issue.
Using this, you or your repair person can evaluate, for instance, floor coverings required. Add the ceiling height and the window dimensions and you need only refer to the book if you need to estimate paint requirements for the walls or blinds or curtains for the windows.
PAINTS, WALLPAPERS, FABRICS, FLOOR COVERINGS
In your logbook, keep a record of the paints you use in your rental. Keep details of the paint manufacturer and the colour. Keep swatches of any fabrics, wallpapers or floorcoverings you use, along with the manufacturer, the retailer used and any other pertinent details.
Keep a record too of when any of these items are used or added in your rooms, apartment or suite. You may not remember accurately when exactly that wood flooring was fitted – but your log book will have the details.
ELECTRICAL AND PLUMBING
On the floorplan, note all electric outlets. Make notes about electrical appliances and any servicing that has been done / is next due. Note plumbing too. Record all work done by specialist plumbing or electrical contractors.
If any minor work is undertaken by non-specialist people (for instance, changing a tap washer, adjusting a dimmer switch) then this too should be noted, along with dates, the person who did the work and materials used.
WINDOWPANE AND DOOR DIMENSIONS
If a window pane is broken or cracked, you can order new glass quickly and easily without measuring first – if the details are in your book. Be sure to have the measurements of internal and external doors. Even buying a simple towel rail can depend on the width of your bathroom door!
Keep a note of all maintenance that happens in your rental. Examples are:
- When the windows are cleaned
- When batteries are changed in the remote, the smoke alarm, the keypad etc.
- When upholstery/carpets are professionally cleaned
- HVAC service
- Appliance service
- Pest treatments
It’s important to keep all safety equipment in good and serviceable condition for your guests. Keep a note in your book about the condition of fire extinguishers, smoke alarms etc. Schedule checks for stocks in the first aid kit.
INVENTORY, SUPPLIES AND TOOLS
The log book should also have a running inventory. Record details and amounts. Keep track of the large items by all means but don’t forget to include smaller items such as spackle, screws, batteries, masking tape, electrical tape, fuses, filters… all those small items that are bought again and again – unnecessarily because we didn’t record having them last time.
If tools and maintenance equipment is kept on the property, then they too should be noted.
Keep copies of your invoices from outside contractors and experts in your home log book. Any work done should be fully recorded.
If possible, keep your home log book online. Google Docs is ideal as you can store Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and more. You can give other parties permissions to view and/or to edit. This means that the people who are important in ensuring that your rental is run properly and on schedule and are always up to date finding the information they need.
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.