Buying Christmas presents, sending cards, adding new decorations to the tree: There’s no doubt about it. Christmas is an expensive time for many renters around Australia.

But there’s a good reason to put paying the rent at the top of your Christmas to-do list.

Preventing rental arrears

Paying the rent over the Christmas period can sometimes be a problem for tenants. Unsurprisingly, some tenants feel that the holiday season shifts their priorities to presents, parties and family get-togethers.

Putting a plan in place to prevent rental arrears occurring will help to ease some of the financial stress associated with the Christmas and New Year period.

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Here are a few easy suggestions to get yourself ahead this year:

  1. Get ahead

Where possible, try to pay an additional week’s rent early in December so you’re not caught out as Christmas draws closer. The festive season carries us away at the best of times, but if you’ve paid an extra week of rent in advance, it removes the burden of extra financial pressure.

  1. Pay extra

If paying an additional week’s rent in advance looks like it could be a struggle, continue paying your rent as normal, but consider adding a little extra each week in the lead up to Christmas. That way, you’ll be up to date, or even a little ahead when the festive season rolls around.

  1. Rewards

Some agencies (not all) offer their tenants rewards/incentives to pay their rent up before Christmas. The reward is typically offered at the end of January, providing you don’t fall into rental arrears over the period.

  1. Communication is key

It’s important to stay in touch with your landlord or property manager if you feel you might be under some financial pressure this holiday season. Develop clear lines of communication with whoever manages your property and make sure you have a phone number and email address on hand should things go awry.

  1. Relationships

It’s a good idea to always maintain a positive relationship with the person managing your property. As in point 4, if you feel you can speak to your landlord about a change in your situation, or advise in advance that you’re having difficulty paying your rent, you can work to address the issue quickly.

  1. Your rental ledger

It’s good to think about the importance of maintaining a positive tenant ledger. A positive tenant ledger will put you in good stead when you apply for future rentals (and even mortgage repayments if you look to purchase a house).

If your landlord or property manager sends you a reminder about paying the rent in November or December, they’re not being unreasonable. It’s simply a way of avoiding problems and a good reminder to manage your finances ahead of time to reduce extra pressure when you need it least.

At the end of the day, enjoy your Christmas and New Year celebrations – you’ve earned it. Don’t stop buying presents or hosting your family at Christmas, but budget ahead for your rent payments in advance.

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