While rental properties can generate earnings for an investor, damages can diminish your income. As a landlord, you want to minimize the damages, especially ones that tenants can cause. On a positive note, there are a variety of things you can do to reduce your worries in this area.
Property damage is to be expected due to normal wear and tear. Your rental unit will naturally undergo changes as time passes. Buttenant-induced damages can often lower the value of your rental.
Bigham & Associates has put together the following 8 tips to help you prevent tenant damages to your rental property. For more help, consider contacting us today to explore our professional property management services!
Preventing Tenant Damages to Your Rental
1. Tight leasing agreement
Creating a comprehensive leasing agreement can clarify expectations. A tenant who knows it’s their duty to clean their pool or mow the lawn can reasonably maintain the rental property. Otherwise, if it’s not specified in the rental agreement then you can’t blame them for not keeping up with the maintenance.
If you want a more secure rental space, you need to create policies in terms of smoking inside the rental or growing plants. It’s a must to also stress the importance of reporting even minor damages. You want the problem to be handled right away so it won’t leave you with major repair expenses. Ensure your lease adheres to Texas landlord-tenant law to avoid costly legal fees!
2. Detailed tenant screening
A tenant’s bad behavior is likely to have a precursor. For example, someone who has a tendency to thrash a rental property has done so in another property in the past. If you do your due diligence by calling previous landlords, you have an open resource of rental history.
Avoid being caught off-guard. Take time to review and assess available information. Look at the credit score to have a fair idea of how a prospect manages finances. Check for a history of violation and eviction. You want to protect your rental investment by closing your doors on potential problem tenants.
3. Long term maintenance program
Even if you’re a longtime landlord, continue conducting a long-term maintenance program. Avoid sitting on your laurels just because you’ve been generating income for a while. Follow a maintenance schedule and stick to it no matter if it’s a low or high rental season.
Maintenance helps you raise the value of your rental unit. It will also earn you tenant loyalty. If renters see you’re taking care of the place and performing upgrades then they’re apt to renew their leases. Ensure your rental is always habitable and the regular upkeep will pay you back multifold.
4. Preventive inspections
No matter how many important tasks are listed in your things-to-do, never skip performing preventive inspections. Tenants may forget to report minor property issues or they may not recognize the signs of property problems. Having the initiative to inspect is an opportunity for you to spot damage signs such as leaks and cracks on the walls.
Go on a property walkthrough and follow a checklist for a more organized inspection. Look at HVAC systems with care. Repairs can be costly so detecting the signs of early damage can save you a lot of time and money. In addition, you’ll also know if a tenant is compliant with his duties to maintain the rental reasonably.
5. Open communication
In business, building a good professional relationship with your customers is vital. This is also applicable in the rental industry. You need to achieve a solid landlord-tenant relationship that’s based on respect and understanding. If you’re an intimidating landlord, few renters would approach you to ask for maintenance requests. This can prevent you from fixing small property problems.
Be friendly, flexible, and open. Appreciate your tenants when they bring a property issue to your attention. Otherwise, you’ll be looking at full-blown damage that can impact your income. You want to reduce emergency situations and practicing open communication with your tenants is one way to achieve it.
6. Charge a security deposit
To encourage tenants to do their part in keeping your rental in outstanding condition, collect a security deposit. Even if one of the rationales of collecting it is to cover for potential losses, it can still serve as a safeguard against negligent behavior.
Tenants want a full refund or at least claim back a huge percentage of the deposit. If the deposit is too small, they might not be incentivized to keep the property damage-free. Keeping it high fuels them to pay attention and care for the rental unit.
7. Tenant orientation
Some landlords meet tenants on their move-in day. They want to welcome the tenant and extend their assistance. They also use the time to conduct a tenant orientation. This is a useful practice to remind the new tenants of important rental policies. Moreover, you can show them how to safely operate the equipment and appliances found in your rental.
It’s easy to take for granted that tenants are tech-savvy. If your home features smart technology, this is all the more a necessity to do. You want them to operate the items properly to prevent damage and costly repair.
8. Pick durable finishes
When purchasing furnishings and materials for your rental, it’s good to adopt a long-term approach. This means investing in appliances that will last longer and have a longer product expiry. If you want to minimize the property damage, it’s best to choose solid flooring, countertops, and furniture that can stand the eventual wear and tear.
Even if buying cheaper versions can be tempting to save more, it can be costly down the line. Frequent replacement or fixing of items in your rental can drain your money. Over a long period, it will consume your time and cause tenants to complain or move out.
The Bottom Line
Preventing tenant damages is a unified effort. It requires you to dedicate time to cultivate a good relationship with your tenants. It also requires you to be assertive and follow through with consistent management procedures to keep tenant damages at bay. Try these suggestions and gain peace of mind. As a landlord, you want to focus on elevating the value of your rental investment.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, consider contacting a professional property management company, like Bigham & Associates. We can help you take care of your rental property and minimize tenant damage. Contact us today!