Renting out a unit may seem easy at a first glance, but it requires a lot of precaution measures and nearly perfect judgment. Damages inflicted by tenants directly influence the property value and rent as well. This is why it is important to prevent any possible damage to the unit. Luckily, with our tips to prevent tenant damages, it is possible to prevent the majority of damages, and rent out a unit without any stress.
Create a tight lease agreement
A lease agreement is a legal document, and as such, it is binding for people who sign it. Your tenants will read it extremely carefully, so it is perfect for conveying a message about any damages. This document is a great way to have your tenants report any damage as soon as it happens, for example. Such a clause in the lease agreement will prevent any larger damages in the future and is convenient.
Establish anti-damage policies in the apartment
Damage can occur when you least expect it, and it does not have to be intentional, of course. However, some situations are more likely to lead to damage than others. You can establish some policies that will prevent the most common damage types. For example, you can agree with your tenants about the smoking, pets, as well as plant policies. Furthermore, you can insist on not lighting candles in the apartment and reduce the risk of fire this way.
Maintain a healthy landlord-tenant relationship
Renting a unit is far more pleasant when you have a positive landlord-tenant relationship. It is important to establish and maintain a trustworthy atmosphere when renting your unit or units. When a tenant knows that you are there to help in case of damage, they will notify you sooner and work on a solution.
Respect your tenants
When you decide on who your new tenant will be, agree with them about the means and times of communication. Agree with your tenants that they should report any damage or suspicious activity on the property as soon as possible. Respect your tenants and don`t call them outside the agreed period. Furthermore, if you plan on visiting the property, make sure that you give them at least a 24-hour notice.
Inspect the property carefully every 6 months
Even if you agree with your tenants that they report any damage once it happens, they may not be aware of everything in the apartment. This is why it is best that you carefully inspect the property at least every six months. Check for heating, A/C, mold, pests, etc. Also, you should check the roof, and windows after winter. Check their condition and whether any repair is needed. Regular maintenance goes a long way in preventing damage to your rental unit. Also, it saves you plenty of money as you will prevent any further damage to your property.
Do this even if you have long-term tenants
Six months go by really fast, and soon you need to inspect the property once again. Many landlords stop with this practice after a few times because they already know the tenants, and believe them. However, we highly suggest you keep the routine of inspecting your property even though you have long-term tenants. You can spot any changes easily because you haven`t seen the apartment for a few months. It will give you a fresh perspective.
Perform a tenant screening
A proper tenant screening is similar to doing a proper foundation on your house. When you find a great tenant that will watch after your property with care, you don`t have to worry much about potential damages. Screen your tenants and check whether they have any eviction history. Learn about their behavior by contacting their previous landlords. Ask them all that you want to know, without hesitation.
Knowing the annual earnings of your tenants is crucial. It will help you determine whether your tenant can afford to live on your property. Yes, tenant screening may be tedious and time-consuming. But, as described in a tenant screening guide for landlords, it is the best thing you can do to prevent tenant damages in the future.
Ask for a security deposit
Currently, there is no limit as to how much should a security deposit be. A security deposit is money the tenants give you at the beginning of their lease. It serves as a guarantee in case of any damage. If there is no damage made to the property, the landlord should give the security deposit back to the tenant. This is a perfect way to ensure your tenants are careful and mindful about your belongings.
However, you should bear in mind that although there is no limit to the amount of a security deposit, it should still be reasonable. You don`t want to deter possible tenants from renting your apartment by requiring a security deposit that is too high.
After a tenant moves out, make your property shine
Regular maintenance is important when you want to prevent tenant damages. When your tenants move out, you should re-paint the property, and fix any damage that has been incurred during the previous period. Replace any items that are torn apart, or non-functional. Check whether all kitchen appliances are functional. Make your property shine before a new tenant comes to see it. When a potential tenant comes in and sees that everything is clean, and in its place, they will know that they should follow the same standard.
Hire an agency to manage your rental property
Since there are a lot of disadvantages of self-managed real estate properties, hiring a reliable real estate management company is one of the best answers to the question of how to prevent tenant damages. The agency first chooses the most promising tenant, who is not likely to inflict any damage to your property. Then, they remain in communication with them in terms of rent, and any issues they may have, and they have a team of people who is ready to repair anything that needs to be fixed.
With the right tips for preventing tenant damage to your rental unit, it is possible to maintain the perfect condition of your unit. Establish a good relationship with your tenants, ask for a reasonable security deposit, and visit the property regularly. Also, have a great lease agreement and don`t miss on performing a tenant screening as these steps are crucial in preventing any tenant damage. Good luck!