Finals are finishing up and students are running out the doors to go home for the holidays. Often, these students forget to take the necessary steps to keep their apartments safe for the five to six weeks they’ll be gone.

So, just before Thanksgiving break, Campus Apartments starts a barrage of notices through email, text, and flyers to remind students to take care of a few things before they leave. But it doesn’t always get through.

“Typically the week before they leave is finals, so they’re up to their eyeballs studying,” says Miles Orth, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Campus Apartments.

Here are a few things Campus Apartments includes on every property managers’ winter break to-do list to ensure safe, secure, and well maintained student housing over the holidays.

1. Lock the windows and lower the blinds. Orth notes there are criminals who prey on college students' apartments once they leave for a few weeks. The best way to deter them is to make sure the blinds are closed so no one can see if anyone's home, and to ensure all the windows are locked so no one can gain access. For additional security, students are asked to take their valuables with them or put them in a safe place. If property managers see them out in plain sight, they will put them in a safer place nearby.

2. Allow the kitchen faucet to drip. In colder climates, it’s important to guard against frozen pipes. If students haven’t done so already, property managers will turn the kitchen faucet on to allow for a minimal drip so the pipes don’t freeze or burst while the students are gone. Orth says the kitchen faucet is best because it’s the one most likely to be turned off when students get back.

3. Unplug appliances and electronics. Coffee makers, toasters, televisions, gaming consoles, and more all take up excess electricity when they’re plugged into the wall, commonly referred to as ‘vampire energy’. Property managers will unplug the larger items to conserve energy if students forget.

4. Leave behind a note. Communication is essential, so property managers will leave a note behind letting students know what they did to make sure their home was safe and secure while they were away. It’s also the best way to make them feel aware of who was in their apartment and the effort the managers went through.

5. Schedule large property maintenance tasks. Student housing has an advantage when students go away for the holidays: It’s easier to get large tasks out of the way without inconveniencing the tenants. Everything from filter changes and re-striping the parking lot to vacuuming common areas and doing HVAC checks is suggested over the holiday break.