Owning a rental home means facing the reality that tenants may damage your property. However, this doesn’t mean that a landlord can’t be proactive and take concrete steps to minimize the potential damage.
This article provides tips that can help you mitigate the risks of tenant damage in your rental home.
Perform Tenant Screening
To guard yourself against bad tenants, it’s crucial to design a detailed tenant screening process. You can ask for information such as references from prior landlords who can share their experience renting to the prospective tenant.
Obtaining information from past landlords will help you decide whether to accept the renter. Vital details may be revealed such as whether the renter caused property damage and if they took responsibility for arranging the repairs for any damages they caused.
You can then make a sound judgment on whether to accept the applicant or turn them down. On top of that, you can also assess the tenant’s rental history, credit score, and income and employment status, to ensure that they have the qualifications you’re looking for.
Prepare a Solid Lease or Rental Agreement
A lease or rental agreement can help diminish potential conflicts that may arise between you and your tenants. Be explicit and clear about your rental policies so that you and your tenants are aware of each party’s responsibilities.
Your lease can also include clauses that cover property damage caused by the renters. For instance, you can prevent property damage by employing a no-smoking policy.
Pay Attention On Move-In Day
It can be helpful to remind tenants to move their furniture and belongings into your property carefully. This will help prevent any accidental scratches or dents on the walls and floors.
You can also advise the tenant to protect their furniture and wrap large items in protective coverings when moving them to prevent damages to your property.
Plan Consistent Inspections
Regularly inspecting your rental unit allows you to remain up to date on the current state of your property. This is also one of your primary responsibilities as a landlord as it ensures you’re able to keep up with maintenance and repairs.
These inspections can reveal pest infestations and leaks in addition to safety, health, and structural issues. Once you’re aware of any issues with your property you can start to schedule repairs immediately.
This also leads to gaining long-term renters since they can see that you’re proactively fulfilling your landlord obligations. Always be sure to conduct detailed inspections on the doors, windows, heating and cooling systems, lighting, plumbing, and electrical system.
It’s common for landlords to perform any or all of the following:
- Move-in inspection.
- Move-out inspection.
- Seasonal inspection.
- Drive-by inspection.
Remember to send a notice before performing any property inspections!
Do a study on which amenities are important to your target market. Invest accordingly. Avoid spending money on improvements that won’t be appreciated in the long run.
Consider purchasing energy-efficient appliances and spending money on durable countertops and flooring.
Be sure to think long-term – the better the material, the slower the wear and tear will be.
Fill Vacancies Quickly
Avoid accruing maintenance expenses without a rental income. Prioritize finding the right tenants quickly. The longer the vacancy, the more risks you’re exposed to. It’s also important to remember that trespassers often target empty properties.
Follow these tips to protect your rental unit when it’s vacant:
- Frequently visit your vacant rental property. Be thorough and check the entire property for signs of entry or vandalism.
- Install an alarm system and safeguard entry points.
- Ask for a neighbor’s assistance in monitoring the property.
- Look over your insurance policy to see if you can access additional protection during a vacancy.
Be More Attentive to Long-Term Renters
Given the level of trust you have with your long-term renters, you may assume that your rental is safe from potential tenant damages. However, it’s important to mitigate any property damage risks by performing regular inspections no matter how long the renter has occupied your property.
Periodic inspections are key to becoming aware of any property damage. If you spot issues, address them right away to decrease the cost of future repairs.
Cultivate Better Relationships with Your Renters
If you want to be a successful landlord, you need to establish a positive relationship with your tenant. To achieve this, show that you are worthy of their trust by listening and resolving property concerns quickly.
Being timely with repairs will show your tenants that you care about creating a habitable living space for them. Always show respect and accord privacy to your renters by sending notices prior to property inspections.
Refer to the Landlord-Tenant Laws in your state so you can make sure you provide your tenants with enough notice of your visit. Ultimately, be sure to let your tenants enjoy a peaceful stay on your property, free from disruptions.
Require a Security Deposit
The objective of security deposits is to protect yourself and your investment. When tenants damage your rental in any way, the security deposit can act as coverage. All tenants want a full refund of their deposit so this encourages them to maintain your unit well.
Collecting a security deposit is the norm so renters are unlikely to dispute this charge. Also, be sure to review local landlord-tenant laws as some states require a landlord to put the security deposit in an interest-bearing account and inform the renter where it’s stored.
The tips above are aimed at helping landlords mitigate any tenant damages to their rental investment. If you want more assistance in running your rental property, opt to hire a professional property management company such as Rent Easy!
The Rent Easy team offers an outstanding range of property management services for property owners and investors!