Are you looking to prevent tenant damages in your rental property?
Rental property ownership comes with many risks. These can come from your tenant's direct behavior. In some cases, renters are very responsible and can reside in your properties for years without causing any damages.
Other tenants may not be that careful. This can become a problem even if you have a strict lease agreement with clauses relevant to tenant damages. They may not have such a strict sense of responsibility.
As a landlord, the accumulation of heavy wear can become a significant financial burden. This is especially true when you have high tenant turnover. Every individual case of damage may not cost too much to fix, but the expenses will add up over time.
There are practical steps you can take to prevent damages in your rental properties caused by tenants. Here are the top strategies for reducing the chance of having to deal with rental damage:
1. Draft a Solid Lease Agreement
You can always refer to your lease agreement when there are any disputes or issues with your tenants. However, for that document to be useful, you need to draft an agreement that addresses all points of key importance.
Your agreement should clearly outline that the tenant has to report all damages, including the minor ones. There should be clauses that regulate potentially high-risk tenant actions, such as smoking or burning candles.
Add as many details to your lease agreement as you can. Being painstaking in drafting the agreements is important. By doing so, you minimize the occurrence of legal gray areas that your tenants could interpret in wildly unique ways.
2. Screen Your Applicants
Picking the right tenants is never an easy task. Although, it's something that is overlooked too often by self-managing landlords. A proper screening process is a time-consuming yet essential task to prevent tenant damages.
Tenant screening involves conducting a thorough background check. You should run a credit check, verify their employment status and make sure the applicants don't have a criminal background.
Most efficient tenant screening protocols rely on interviews as well. You can contact the applicant's past employers and landlords. Plus, you should interview the applicants themselves to learn more about their motivation, expectations and life situation.
3. Ask for a Security Deposit
Security deposit is another essential of tenant damage prevention. This deposit has multiple useful purposes for you as a landlord. When there are any damages besides normal wear and tear, you can deduct the expenses from the security deposit.
This is not the only function of the deposit. Your tenants will likely take better care of the property when they are aware of the risk of deposit deductions.
It's better to have a larger security deposit than a smaller one. The bigger sum acts as a more efficient deterrent for negligence.
At the same time, keep in mind that your particular area may have a cap on security deposits. Large deposits can make it especially hard to fill your empty rental units.
4. Conduct Regular Inspections
Do regular walkthrough inspections to assess your property for damage. When you inspect your rental units, make sure to cover all the probable trouble spots, including piping, toilets, gutters and downspouts.
Consider the following actions to stay in the clear:
- Annual cleanings
- Seasonal inspections
- Move-in and move-out inspections
5. Hand Out a Tenant Upkeep Checklist
Landlords are usually responsible for all the major repairs and maintenance. Sometimes specific upkeep tasks, such as changing HVAC air filters, is the responsibility of the tenant when both sides have agreed to this.
Nevertheless, there are simple principles that every tenant can follow to extend the property's lifetime. That's why it is recommended to hand your tenants a checklist of basic upkeep tasks.
Add items that are easy to complete and cut the risk of damages. Implementing this checklist will focus your renter's attention on the importance of proper care and its implications on preventing long-term damages.
6. Install Digital Moisture Sensors
A smart moisture sensor may be a great addition to automatizing your rental property and reducing the threat of damages. Small leaks will start to affect the humidity levels in your property. Digital sensors provide a convenient way to keep an eye on sudden spikes of indoor moisture.
Regular inspections and tenant oversight are also good ways to prevent accumulating water damage. Using digital devices allows you to cut out the margin of human error. It will also make your tenants' lives easier, as they will have one less responsibility on their shoulders.
In a Nutshell: Preventing Tenant Damages in Your Rental
Landlords face numerous challenges. Emergency repair needs, misunderstandings surrounding rent payments and tenant turnovers are just some of the regular issues to deal with. Tenant damages is another difficulty on this list.
Fortunately, there are effective ways you can prevent tenant damages in your rental property. Follow these practical suggestions to reduce the risk of incurring the cost of rental damages:
- Always ask for a security deposit that is preferably a bit higher.
- Keep potential water leaks under control by using digital moisture sensors.
- Create lease agreements that cover all the topics relevant to tenant damages.
- Provide your tenants with a handy maintenance checklist with simple tasks.
- Conduct comprehensive tenant screening that weeds out any unfit applicants.
- Inspect your rental units regularly and conduct move-in and move-out inspections.
Contact McGuire Property Management for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.