No matter how great the tenants you have are, accidents can happen, and your property could be damaged. But there are still plenty of things you can do as a landlord to minimize these events. So, we at the Archer Management Group have put together this article to help you prevent tenant damages to your rental property.
Screen Your Tenants Having a thorough screening process is a great way to find the perfect tenants. Your aim should be to rent to tenants that are going to have a positive impact on your bottom line. So, they are going to care for the unit, report maintenance issues on time, and of course, pay rent without issue.
A meticulous tenant screening process is one that evaluates a tenant’s desirability on multiple levels. It would consider, among other things, the prospective tenant’s rental history, credit rating, income level, and employment status.
For example, if you are enquiring about a prospect’s rental history, you could the previous landlord the following questions:
Did the tenant pay rent on time?
Was the tenant respectful?
Did the tenant cause excessive property damage to their unit?
Has the tenant notified you of their intention to vacate your unit?
Would you rent to the tenant again?
Answers to these questions will give you a great idea of whether the prospect is worthwhile or not.
Solidify Your Lease Agreement Another way to prevent tenant damages to your rental property is by having a solid lease agreement. So, when drafting the lease agreement, make sure to address behaviors that may lead to negligent property damage.
Consider including clauses that regard:
Refusing to notify you of needed maintenance issues.
Subletting is also another issue that you may want to address. If you allow it, make sure that the tenant knows what requirements must be met for them to have a roommate. But if you don’t allow it, let them know.
As for maintenance issues, let your tenant know what they are responsible for under the lease. Ideally, let them know before they sign the lease. That way, they will understand what you expect of them.
Perform Regular Property Inspections No matter how great your tenant is, it’s a good idea to conduct routine inspections. A routine inspection can help your bottom line in a variety of ways. Firstly, it can help you identify maintenance issues early.
You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that your property is abiding by all local habitability codes. Additionally, routine inspections will help you minimize tenant turnover, as the property will remain attractive.
A good idea is to create a checklist when conducting your inspections so you can inspect everything efficiently.
Don’t forget to provide your tenant with reasonable notice prior to entering their rented unit. 24 hours is presumed reasonable, but this should also be stated in your lease.
Fill Vacancies Quickly An empty property isn’t just losing you money, it will also require your attention. Below are some of the things you might want to consider that will keep your property safe and ensure it fills up quickly:
Perform regular inspections. This will keep you apprised of any accidental damage and ensure it looks good for viewings.
Consider taking an extra insurance cover.
Advertise your property both online and through local signage.
Hire a property management company to help you find a reliable tenant to occupy it if you are unable to do so yourself.
Paying A Security Deposit The main purpose of a security deposit is to provide you with a financial cushion against possible liabilities that may arise from renting out a property. Besides coming in handy in case of property damage, it can also help cover you in case:
Your tenant breaks their lease early.
Your tenant fails to clear their utility bills when moving out.
The tenant moves out without clearing the rent due.
You should also be mindful of how much security deposit to charge. In California, the amount to charge as a security deposit should be based on whether a unit is furnished or not.
If furnished, the maximum you can take as a security deposit shouldn’t exceed three months’ rent. But if the property is unfurnished, then the maximum you can take as a security deposit is two months’ rent.
Cultivate A Great Landlord-Tenant Relationship Having a healthy relationship with your tenant is key to running a successful rental investment. So, make sure to be both responsive and respectful to your tenant’s needs.
Being a responsive landlord gives your tenant a sense of confidence. So make sure to reply quickly to requests set clear expectations with them when it comes to maintenance or repair.
Be respectful and mindful of your tenant’s privacy and their needs. Make sure to give them proper notice when you want to enter the property and respect their desire for privacy.
Bottom Line By drafting a strong lease agreement, screening your tenants, and being a respectful and responsive landlord, you’ll give yourself the best chance at minimizing tenant damage to your property.
But if you are looking for assistance with any of these, Archer Management Group can help! We have over 30 years of experience in property management, so get in touch!