When sharing a property with a club or friends and family, it’s important to establish a sustainable system for access, expenses, safety and maintenance.
Time and effort invested in setting expectations will pay off in the long run.
Here are seven suggestions for sharing without stress:
1. Commit to an arrangement (in writing).
This could be anything from an informal email to family members, or a letter attached to a rental agreement, to a lawyer-drafted LLC operating agreement. The point is to make sure that everyone is on the same page so that misunderstandings are avoided.
2. Include a plan for expenses.
Do people replace the supplies and help with maintenance work, or does your group divide expenses according to use or ownership percentage? Figure it out ahead of time so that there are no surprises.
3. Set expectations for using the property.
Do you allocate use, reserve time slots, require permission or allow for first-come-first served? Are guests or pets allowed? Make sure that everyone knows the procedure. Depending on your situation it may be most convenient to call or email one person to request a stay, or you could use a shared online calendar.
4. Separate and simplify House Rules and make them easily accessible.
Few people will read a dense page of complex rules. It’s more effective to keep the house rules short and focused on safety, liability and other key issues.
5. Designate a place to store other information.
An on-site binder with appliance manuals and restaurant menus, local attractions, and directions to the nearest ER is helpful. Contact information for the preferred plumber, heating engineer, cleaner, and babysitters should be easy to find at the property. Make a version available online as well for easy access and updates.
6. Have a Departure Checklist
A list of tasks to check off before you leave can save the property and your peace of mind. Items might include turning down thermostats, making sure the oven is off, checking for laundry, emptying the trash. This is also a good place to make a note of any breakages or supplies that need replacing.
7. Be transparent and over-communicate if necessary.
Better to send an extra text or email than to make assumptions. Family and friend groups are vulnerable to relationship damage from seemingly small miscommunications (see Shakespeare for examples). Transparency builds trust.
What else? If you have suggestions on how to make things run smoothly, or what to avoid please let us know in the comments.
This article was written by the creator of Resercal, an app for shared property scheduling and management. Other options for scheduling and sharing information online include Google Suite (calendar, sheets & docs), or a custom website.