how to prevent tenant damages

Property damages can be costly. A landlord must find ways to save as often as possible. There are expected damages that come from occupying a living space. 

However, it’s also vital to learn about various strategies to curb spending and minimize damages at the onset, especially for first-time landlords who are new to the business. Long-term damage can cost a fortune. Here are ideas to reduce the likelihood of tenant damages:

Ask for a high-security deposit and create a solid leasing agreement.

A security deposit is an amount a tenant pays to his landlord as a security guarantee. This can also be used as payment for damages or losses incurred by the renter. The landlord keeps and deposits it in an interest-bearing or non-interest bearing account, depending on the state laws.

When a landlord requests for a high-security deposit, this pushes the renter to claim the full refund. This method motivates him to keep the rental unit in a pristine condition. If there are minor problems, such as bent window blinds, the tenant will find a way to fix the damage.

Everything must be clearly detailed in the leasing agreement. It should outline the expectations of a landlord. There should be a clear focus on the kind of state the property must be in, the types of repairs a tenant must shoulder and the constituents of negligence in property maintenance.

It helps to attach documentation and photos to be clear and avoid conflicts. The leasing agreement is a reference point and it’s legally binding. Thus, conditions and clauses on tenant responsibilities when it comes to property maintenance must be properly stated.

Conduct extensive tenant screening.

Tenant screenings help the landlord in spotting red flags. This is why screenings must be conducted in a thorough manner. 

The quality of tenant you have is directly linked to how your property asset will be taken care of. This is a great way to manage your risk.

You must check for references from past landlords. You can then extract information and get a sense of their accountability as a renter. 

Do they pay on time? Are they negligent and cause extreme damages to furnishings or the property? Do they honor leasing agreements?

This saves you both time and money even if initially, tenant screening can be cumbersome. It’s best to set a criterion and run the list on each applicant. 

Check the tenant history of each potential tenant

You can check if previous damage has been done to a property. Moreover, if the applicant has been subjected to eviction. There may also be financial issues like previous debts owed to a former landlord.

Being alert to the red flags is a good indicator of a pattern of behavior. If a tenant can commit heavy damage on a previous rental property then it’s probable that he’ll commit the same in your unit. This is the main reason tenant screening will help you save your financial budget when it comes to property maintenance.

Implement a regular cleaning and inspection schedule.

Before a tenant moves in, it’s helpful to keep your place in a pristine condition. This sets the tone for the level of property maintenance you expect from the occupant. 

This also shows the tenant that your standards are superior. If you show a sub-par property condition, the tenant is unlikely to put any effort into keeping the unit well-maintained.

Prepare a checklist so it’s easier for a tenant to reach the standard required for taking care of your rental unit. It also helps during orientation to clearly outline expectations to avoid confusion.

Take photos and videos beforehand that you can show to the client so there are no misunderstandings upon move-out. Schedule regular property check-ins, such as annual cleaning, seasonal inspections and regular inspections. 

This type of property monitoring indicates to the tenant about your level of care and maintenance towards the property. In turn, the tenant will be motivated to treat it as their own by fulfilling his responsibilities towards property maintenance.

If there are service requests, like if a tenant asks you to check a leak or mold situation, you must respond promptly. Doing so prevents extreme damages. If there are plumbing issues and water leaks, have it fixed right away. 

Any minor repairs that are needed must be addressed immediately. If some appliances needed to be replaced, it’s best to do so rather than waiting for the problem to escalate. It’s also more expensive to conduct major repairs rather than paying attention to minor ones.

Cultivate a healthy and respectful relationship with your tenants.

If you have a good relationship with your tenant then chances are he will perform what’s expected of him willingly. If a renter respects his landlord, it’s easier for him to take care of the rental unit. Otherwise, he will simply not care and become negligent of his tenant duties.

Aim for good communication and encourage open feedback. Ask your tenant if he has any property needs that require addressing. 

keep an open communication with your tenants

An environment where your tenants keep you informed right away will help you manage property issues early. This helps you save from ballooning costs. 

If you consider the opposite scenario of only discovering that a pest infestation is brewing or broken appliances are hidden, this will affect your budget. You need to spend on replacement and major service maintenance. That’s why it’s important to build a respectful relationship.

Bottom line

Tenants will never be as fully invested in your rental property, however, it pays to practice these 4 tips. Asking for a high-security deposit, taking the time for a detailed tenant screening, conducting regular property inspections and developing a good tenant relationship are wonderful tips for damage prevention.

Always conduct a tenant orientation prior to move-in and be upfront about the level of property maintenance you expect from the renter. This ensures that future miscommunications are avoided. 

Make sure the leasing agreement contains the maintenance conditions. Having a well maintained rental space will help create more property value.