Owning a rental property allows you to generate wealth and passive income. But it comes with its fair share of responsibilities and risks. One of the biggest risks to property owners can be problematic tenants. While most tenants will be responsible and take good care of your rental property during their tenancy, others may not be as cautious.
Property damage caused by renters is usually accidental, for instance, they may fail to report the need for repairs in a timely manner and that can result in large issues down the line. This can happen, even when your term for reporting repairs is clear in the lease agreement.
Keeping up with property maintenance and repairs can be costly and time-consuming. These costs only get higher when you’re experiencing high rates of tenant turnover. So what can landlords do to protect their properties and their investments?
In this article, you’ll learn what steps you can take to reduce and prevent tenant damage to your rental units!
Require a Security Deposit from Tenants
Security deposits are important as they provide property owners with a financial safety net against missing or damaged items in the rental. Should there be damage that goes beyond that of normal wear and tear, a landlord can make deductions from the security deposit to cover the costs of repair.
Tenants are more likely to care for the property as they’ll want to receive their deposit back in full at the end of their tenancy. Maybe sure setting your security deposit amount that you follow landlord-tenant laws and industry standards. You’ll also want to remain informed on the property's ways to store the security deposits, to make deductions from it as well as the right way to return it to the tenant.
Foster a Solid Relationship with Your Tenant
If you have a strong working relationship with your tenant it’ll make conducting business much easier. They’ll be more likely to come to you about repairs as soon as they happen, thus allowing you to address them before they become more complex and costly.
The tenant will also treat the property with more respect when they have a healthy relationship with their landlord.
Lead by Example
When the tenant first moves into the property, you want to set the standard for cleanliness. Make sure that the property is well-maintained and clean so that tenants understand what the property should look like, minus natural wear and tear, upon then moving out.
Draft a Detailed Lease or Rental Agreement
The lease agreement is a legal contract between a landlord and their tenants that details all party's rights and responsibilities during the tenancy. When drafting the agreement you want to include any and all policies you have related to property maintenance and cleanliness. The tenant needs to understand that they are in charge of and when they need to notify you of issues.
For instance, you’ll want tenants to report any property damages to you, even if they’re minor. You should also think to include clauses about things like using candles or smoking which can be fire hazards. Having these policies clearly laid out will help in the event of a dispute as you’ll be able to refer back to the lease.
If you need help drafting a lease that abides by landlord-tenant laws in the state, consider reaching out to a qualified property management company. They have the industry experience to help you draft an agreement that will protect you, your property, and your tenants.
Conduct Thorough Tenant Screenings
Another excellent way to protect your property from tenant damage is to perform in-depth tenant screenings on all prospective renters. You want to find a trustworthy tenant who will pay their rent on time each month, respect the terms of the lease, and reasonably maintain the unit throughout the tenancy.
When conducting the screening you to do a background check and verify the tenant's employment history, credit score, and criminal history. You also want to contact previous landlords to get a better sense of what kind of tenants they are. Note that your tenant screenings, and all matters of management, need to abide by the Fair Housing Act.
Regularly Inspect the Rental Property
By regularly inspecting the rental, you’ll be in a better position to spot damage early on and well as to conduct preventive maintenance. No matter how great your tenant is at reporting issues to you, it’s always best to see it with your own eyes. Make sure that you provide tenants with notice before conducting the inspection.
If you spot something that needs tending to, then coordinate with a contractor and keep the tenant informed throughout the process.
Carry-out Annual Property Cleanings
Having your property professionally cleaned annually can help you retain tenants long-term while also protecting the rental. This will also reinforce the standard of cleanliness you expect from your tenants.
Protecting your rental property is important for many reasons. You want to ensure that tenants and safe and comfortable and you want to protect the property’s value. By implementing the suggestions above you’ll be better position to protect your investment.
If you would like help managing your rentals, reach out to a trusted property management company like Taylor Street Property Management. Our property managers can handle everything from property marketing and tenant screenings to property maintenance and drafting lease agreements. Contact us today to learn more about our property management services!