Since rentals can have several occupants over a number of years, it’s vulnerable to property damage. But this doesn’t mean that landlords can’t minimize them. Here are recommendations to follow to limit tenant damages as much as possible:
Create a Proper Tenant Screening Process
When your tenant screening is detailed, it helps you filter out renters that can cause stress due to irresponsible behavior. Their failure to abide by the terms of the lease can lead to deteriorating property and lost income.
Landlords can guard themselves against this by performing background checks and reaching out to former landlords to seek more information. You can inquire whether any damage was done to the property the renter previously occupied.
The important thing is to find out how the potential tenant handled the situation. Taking responsibility is a positive sign rather than placing blame or hiding the situation.
A reliable tenant screening procedure also includes evaluating the employment, income, and creditworthiness of the candidates since these factors tell you if their finances are healthy.
Draft a Solid Leasing Agreement
When you outlined the vital terms and conditions, disclosures, and property policies in the lease, it’s clear and easier for the renters to follow them. They won’t be calling you repeatedly for clarification and conflicts will also be reduced.
Mention specific acts that are not tolerated such as smoking inside the unit or subletting.
You also have to remind the tenants that they’re legally bound to maintain the rental unit as well. List the maintenance and cleaning tasks they’re expected to perform so there’s less confusion.
Pay Attention During Move-in
Your rental is exposed to property damage when renters move in with their large pieces of furniture. While the heavy items are transferred and maneuvered, you can expect a lot of scratches and marks on the walls and floors. You can prepare beforehand and offer safer ways when transferring bulky stuff to reduce the damage.
Conduct Regular Inspections of Your Rental Unit
Checking your property routinely can help you identify potential issues and save on repair costs. Since the habitability of your rental space is a landlord’s responsibility, being consistent in inspecting the unit is required.
Property inspections happen during move-in and move-out. The landlord can also schedule seasonal and drive-by inspections to review the state of the rental. Before conducting an inspection, don’t forget to send a notice to the tenant.
When running a property inspection, here are the areas you want to check:
- Cooling and heating systems
- Electrical systems, including lighting fixtures
- Potential leaks and areas that tend to have more moisture
- Outdoor spaces
When you discover the damages sooner, they can be fixed right away so the renters won’t feel inconvenienced. Another benefit when you actively performing inspections and preventive maintenance is you remain compliant with building, health, and safety codes.
Protect Your Vacant Rentals
Aside from spending more on maintaining and marketing your rental, landlords are also exposed to security risks when there’s no one occupying their rental space. Apply these tips to discourage intruders and protect your rental property:
- Drop by your empty rental home often. Tour all areas to ensure that no one is residing inside.
- Heavily secure the entry points of your property. Invest in a security system with an alarm and camera.
- Seek help from neighbors to inform you of any incidents.
- Check if your insurance protects vacant rentals.
Plan Your Property Upgrades
When spending money on property renovations, you want to ensure that you get the best return on your investment and this requires careful planning. The first thing you need to determine is the needs of your tenants.
It’s advisable to also invest in top-quality items when considering buying new appliances and replacing doors and flooring as they will experience slower wear and tear resulting in lower long-term maintenance costs.
Nurture Friendly Relationships with Your Tenants
Self-managing a rental home means you need to frequently interact with tenants. Show respect by providing privacy and allowing the occupants quiet enjoyment of the space over the course of the tenancy. Keep lines of communication open to find out if there are any property issues and act immediately to fix them.
Remember to notify the residents of any upcoming property inspections. Every state has its own required period. If it’s not specified, a 24-hour notification is sufficient.
Spare Time to Check on Long-term Renters
Sometimes landlords can overlook longtime tenants due to trust but try not to ignore this set of renters. Continue being consistent in inspecting the rental unit. The longer the residency, the more damage can occur, especially resulting from normal wear and tear.
Delaying fixes can cost you in terms of money and renters. Some states allow the tenant to withhold the rent or conduct repairs and deduct the costs from their rent. If not done properly, you may need to hire a professional contractor to redo the fixes.
It’s best to ensure that tenants feel heard and respected no matter how long their tenancy has been.
Request for a Security Deposit from Your Renter
One of the best ways to encourage renters to pay attention to rental maintenance is by asking for a security deposit. Since they’re motivated to earn back the security deposit refund, they’re more likely to actively take care of the rental space.
Note that while landlords are allowed to collect security deposits, you should check the maximum limit under your state’s laws as well as any regulations pertaining to the storing and returning of it.
Applying these helpful tips can lower the incidence of property damage or financial loss in your rentals. But if you have little time to spare or want a trusted professional property manager to oversee your rental business, contact Gifford Properties & Management today!
We offer a wide range of services from marketing and tenant screening to rent collection and property maintenance.