Tenant damages are the bane of existence for landlords. A rental property naturally ages, making them more likely. Of course, wear and tear are expected over the years. However, some damages can be attributed to tenants' neglect.
How should landlords address these issues? Is there a way to minimize the potential damages, so a property continues to retain its value? The answer is yes.
You can implement precautionary practices, so your rental property continues to appreciate for the long term. It’s not enough to simply hope that the tenants will take care of the rental unit diligently. You can use the following strategies to make sure their property maintains its attractive quality as time passes:
1. Set conditions in the leasing agreement.
A lease is a guideline for tenants to refer to while renting your unit. It’s best to create conditions that will help your property look pristine even after several turnovers. State your property rules to make sure there is no room for going against them. Make sure to cover the following issues in your lease:
Smoking is dangerous to overall health, but it’s difficult to control others' habits. As a landlord, however, one must be wary when it comes to tenants smoking inside the property. Smoking can start a fire and lead to the destruction of your entire property.
Another downside of smoking is the residual smell it leaves on your carpets, curtains and bedsheets. Further, smoking leaves stains on the walls, ceilings and cabinets.
When your tenants have kids, it can be challenging to keep the walls spotless. Kids are prone to making artworks everywhere. This can damage your walls and cabinet doors.
It’s essential to create a policy around this potential damage. You can stipulate that wallpapers should be replaced by the renters should drawings appear on them. You can also state that the tenants shall shoulder the repainting cost of the wall.
We all know the emotional benefits that pets can bring to tenants. On the other hand, welcoming pets in your rental property exposes it to damage risk. To combat this possibility, you can create several maintenance duties for tenants who own pets.
Damages occurring for tenants with pets are usually floor and door scratches. Another potential cause of damage is pet litter and pee resulting in floor discoloration or carpet ruin.
2. Conduct periodic property inspections.
There's a difference between outlining tenants’ responsibilities in the leasing agreement and checking what’s occurring on the ground. Since you own the rental property, it’s necessary to regularly check whether policies are being followed. It’s best to conduct a series of preventive maintenance to ensure you’re protected from huge expenses. Take a look at the following seemingly simple damage that can result in massive costs when ignored:
Not only does a leaky faucet contribute to an excessive water bill, but it can also lead to floor damage and ceiling damage. It’s best to address this right away since water damage can be pricey.
Ruined floors can require replacement, especially if it’s made of wood. A damaged ceiling can result in unsightly water stains. Its possible collapse can result in further exacerbation of the problem.
Mold can be insidious, so it's recommended to do all you can to prevent mold growth. Maintain the washers and dryers properly by regularly inspecting them. Frequently check for water damage as a preventative measure against any mold appearance.
Establish a good ventilation system to enable air to circulate well. You can place exhaust fans, air conditioning units or dehumidifiers to keep moisture away.
Sometimes people ignore wall cracks, but if left unchecked, these can amount to a costly foundation repair. As a landlord, you must spot any signs of deep fractures on the drywall and flooring. Cracks that measure more than 1/8 inch and horizontal ones must be assessed.
Other signs of foundation trouble are sloping floors and sticking doors and windows. Lastly, make sure there are no door and window frames gaps.
3. Safeguard the rental unit during move-in.
Moving heavy furniture around can leave damage on your rental property. Nowhere does this occur more than during a tenant’s moving in day. To prevent damages to your flooring and furnishing, follow these tips:
Ask the new tenants to use furniture sliders so that moving heavy furniture will not leave scuffed marks on your hardwood floors. Inform tenants that this is for their benefit as well. Leaving no damages means their security deposit will remain intact. Furniture sliders, available for cheap, can aid in smoothly moving the beds, couches, dressers and tables over thick carpeting.
Command strip hooks
Instead of hanging frames using nails, it’s best to request tenants to use command strip hooks. They don’t leave marks and unsightly holes on your walls.
Again, remind tenants that the objective is to avoid damages for a full refund of their security deposit. Another added advantage of command strip hooks is that they easily come off, making it more convenient to use.
Pre-move in orientation
Another way for landlords to reduce property damage is to conduct an orientation when the tenants move in. You can show how the appliances work. It’s best not to assume that renters can figure out right away how gadgets operate. Show them how to use the remote controls safely.
You can also leave a maintenance manual for their reference. Inform the tenants that they can contact you if they ever need any help.
There are always ways to prevent massive losses in expenses. Tenants will appreciate it when you give them tips to reduce damages. This way, the tenants will be able to collect the full amount of their security deposit. Tenants will also appreciate that preventive maintenance is being performed so that the rental unit remains safe and habitable. The more you look out for the property, the more your tenants are inspired to stay longer.
Contact Onsite Property Management if you're looking for a reputable property manager with the expertise to successfully help dealing with tenant damages to your rental business.