Tips to Prevent Tenant Damages to Your Rental Property
by Justin Cory
on Wednesday, October 27th, 2021 at 1:37pm.
A rental property has several risks attached to it just like any other investment. One that ranks highly and has far-reaching effects on the value is property damage by tenants. Even though it’s the tenants’ responsibility to take care of the property and reasonably maintain it, some tenants fail to honor the agreement.
Some damages can be the result of neglect either by the tenant or the landlord. Other times the property can require updates due to normal wear and tear. Taking care of repairs in property can be a costly affair.
Even the little repairs that are considered affordable at first may add up in the long run. It is therefore important to plan and have set measures that can protect you as a landlord from such events.
A security deposit is a sum of money that tenants provide upfront that a landlord can put towards repairs for damages caused by the tenant. Asking for a reasonable security deposit from your tenants will provide you with a financial safety net if damage occurs.
There are currently no set limits on how much a landlord can charge as a security deposit in Tennessee. However, you want to ensure that your amounts remain reasonable and in line with your competition. Carry out market research on what similar properties charge as security deposits. Once you have the data, you’ll be in a better position to set a price.
What’s more, even once you’ve set the amount, be sure to follow the proper protocols if you choose to use it to cover the cost of repairs.
The amount and use of a security deposit are regulated by state and federal landlord-tenant laws. These laws are also subject to change so always stay informed before setting a price or using the tenant's deposit.
Establish a Solid Landlord-Tenant Relationship
Having a good working relationship with your tenants is always in your best interest. For starters, a good relationship helps to greatly reduce tenant turnover. Tenants also tend to be more respectful and responsible when staying in properties where they have a healthy relationship with their landlords. They will adhere to the rules making management stress-free for you as a landlord.
Some of the ways in which you can improve the relationship between you and your tenants can be through promptly responding to maintenance and repair requests, keeping the property in top condition, charging reasonable rent, and respecting your tenant's privacy.
Have a Detailed Lease Agreement
A lease or rental agreement is a legal document that indicates the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant. Lease agreements are essential since you can always refer to them whenever there is a misunderstanding. The lease should include all the details regarding the handling of the property and the state in which the unit should be handed back in when moving out.
As a landlord, ensure that your lease document is as detailed as possible. In regards to property damage, the lease should require your tenants to report property damages even minor ones as soon as they happen. An experienced property manager can be very helpful in drafting a clear and well-detailed lease document.
Lead by Example
Some of the causes of damage could be as a result of untidy spaces. It’s therefore important for landlords to set out clear instructions and guidelines for the level of cleanliness they expect from their tenants.
These standards should be discussed before the tenant first occupies the space. However, for the tenant to follow through with the requirement, the property owner should set a clear example and include their expectations in the lease.
Before the tenant moves in, clean the property and ensure that it’s up to your standards. This can then serve as a reference for them to follow. Also, ensure that the common areas are kept clean and are well maintained.
Screen All Potential Tenants
Screening tenants will help your find qualified renters. This is a renter who will respect and maintain the unit, pay their rent on time and adhere to the terms of the lease agreement.
Ensure that you screen all potential tenants before they occupy your property. Have the tenants go through set criteria to determine the most suitable tenant. Some things to look for are landlord references, their ability to pay rent, and their employment status among others.
Remember that when conducting your screenings you must adhere to the Fair Housing Act.
Perform Regular Property Inspections
By conducting regular inspections of your property, you’ll be able to spot damages before they become larger and more costly. Regular inspections also enable you to get ahead of issues caused by age, normal wear, and tear, or other natural causes.
You should always be aware of the condition of various items on the property. This will also help you determine whether or not the damage is the result of tenant neglect. Note that this is something you need to be sure of before making any deductions for the tenant's security deposit.
Communicate with Tenants
Communication is key to every business and especially in property management. Ensure that there are clear and open communication channels in place where tenants can reach you. Encourage your tenants to reach out to you whenever there is an issue in the building.
Once you have received a complaint or a report from a tenant, make sure to note it down and follow up until the issue is sorted. Have a list of technicians and personnel that you can reach out to whenever there is a need for repairs.
The information offered above will help protect your property from damages. Being proactive when it comes to such matters can also save you money. It however requires a lot of time, effort, and be patient. If you would like help managing and maintaining your investment properties, reach out to a property management company.