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When you welcome a tenant into your rental property, are you confident that he/she will take good care of it? Previously, we talked about property damage and in the post, I mentioned simple steps you can take to protect your investment from tenant damage. We're going to discuss more of that today.
If you put yourself in the shoes of tenants, you would agree that somehow, they don't feel responsible for the care of the rental because they don't actually own it.
As a landlord, your job is to encourage tenants to respect the property they live in. This can be done through simple communication and by getting the lease right. Follow my tips below:
Avoiding damage begins during the screening process. One thing you must watch out for is a pattern of property damage in their rental history. What does the previous landlord say about the tenant? Did the tenant try to conceal the damage or take responsibility for it?
At the beginning of a tenancy, landlords should be doing a professional inventory where they check the original condition of each item in the rental. Recording the condition of the rental helps you avoid a dispute further down the line. Take notes, photographs, and video clips. Create a checklist that includes everything from the walls to door handles to furniture.
>>Related: Landlord Tip: Here's a powerful lease clause to help you carry out an inspection of the rental unit
It's normal to expect younger tenants (such as college students) to be leaving the place in a mess most of the time. However, you'll be surprised that there are adults who happen to be pack rats. To avoid this, never hesitate to provide instructions on cleaning. Create a written packet with directions for basic cleaning tasks. Add a cleaning clause in the lease.
Just because some tenants have been with you for a long time, doesn't mean they won't cause any damage. Continue to carry out routine inspections regardless of how long a tenant has been with you. If you've made it very clear from the start that you expect the rental to be in good condition, most likely, a long-term tenant will make an effort to maintain it.
Many landlords still make the mistake of leaving their precious items in the rental. Get rid of the slightest opportunity for your valuables to sustain damage or get stolen by removing them. Replace them with something cheaper.
Landlords have a duty of conducting repairs to keep the rental property in a habitable condition. Check the laws of your state to know what a habitable and unhabitable property means. Addressing repairs in a timely manner sends a message to your tenants that you take maintenance seriously. This encourages them to do the same.
The landlord-tenant relationship is no different from other relationships. Building a positive relationship goes a long way in keeping your rental in tip-top shape. Communicate your expectations and listen to theirs as well. Get everything in writing. When it comes to maintenance, keep your word so they have a good reason to keep theirs. Encourage suggestions.
>>Read: 10 Useful Tips for Attracting and Keeping Tenants
Got people living in your rental already? Planning to fill vacancies soon? Keep these tips in mind. When you do all the right things to maintain a damage-free rental, you can rest easy knowing that your investment is in good hands.
If you’re ready, make Landlord Prep your go-to resource for landlording education. Here, we offer a complete DIY landlording course to get you on the right track. Join our academy today. If you want, you can check out Flavia’s real estate investing webinar first!