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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

File notes

It’s amazing how much paperwork managing properties can generate. Whether you’re a landlord, tenant or investor, you’re constantly bombarded with documents:

tenancy agreements
utility bills
lettings agents’ statements
quotes for repairs
letters about your mortgage
insurance documents
gas certificates

These are all terribly important and without a system that suits you, you’ll get in a flap and waste a lot of time looking for things. Your kitchen table (or its electronic equivalent) will be strewn with papers and these will prey on your mind.

Property Sparrow recommends these cold dark evenings for sorting out your filing system.

Enjoy your secretarial role. Set up a cheap and efficient system. All you need is a set of containers and a system to suit the way your mind works. Your containers can be anything you like: a filing cabinet, a set of lever arch files, a concertina file, a shoebox.

Some people store their papers by type. They keep all of their service charge statements together, for instance. Others simply put all documents relating to a particular address in one file, separating out the contents according to subject. Keep things in date order. Use the same principle for your electronic records.

Keep your system under review.
Think about the security of your system and what information you may have to provide. It‘s a good time of year to do this and, trawling through your papers, you may find something interesting.

As a rule, most documents can be disposed of after seven years. A shredder, a fire grate, a compost heap, or Property Sparrow’s favourite, a wormery, become must-have items for landlords. Well worth mentioning to Santa.


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Anonymous said...

Dear Property Sparrow, I wish I shared your dedication to administration duties. Have you any tips on ways of making the process more amusing, truth is I find it boring!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I'm sorry to hear that you are finding your admin boring and I'm having difficulty thinking of something to suggest to make it more amusing. Perhaps it's more a case of just getting it done quickly so that you can get on with the parts of the job that you like best. Cleaning? Accountancy?

Perhaps you could try and keep to the rule of touching each paper only once: read what you get when you receive it, do whatever you need to do in response and file it away straightaway out of sight so that you can then go out and have some fun.

Shredding can be soothing sometimes, I find.