One risk of renting out a property is tenant damage. It can take the form of either excessive damage, or normal wear and tear.
But whichever form it takes, preventing it is key to running a successful rental investment.
In this post, we are going over 7 tips to help you prevent tenant damages to your rental property.
1. Always screen tenants.
Don’t take chances. Screen all prospects that show interest to rent out your property. If you do it properly, it can significantly minimize potential issues later down the line.
The goal of your screening process should be to land tenants that meet the following criteria:
- Can pay rent every month without problems. To land such a tenant, require that applicants make a monthly income of at least 3X the rental price.
- Have a good credit rating. A good credit rating is indicative of a person’s financial savviness. Ideally, only consider prospects with a credit rating of at least 670.
- Have a good rental history. Call prior landlords and inquire about the tenant. Did the tenant, for instance, pay rent on time? Did they maintain their rental premises? Did other neighbors complain about them? Did they notify you that they are looking to move out?
- Have a solid employment background. You may even want to call the tenant’s employer to ask them a few questions regarding the tenant. For instance, how much they make, and whether they are reliable.
Having such a process will ensure you land tenants that are of a high caliber. That is, tenants who will pay rent on time, care for your premises, notify you of maintenance issues on time, and generally rent long-term.
2. Inspect your property on a regular basis.
This is an important responsibility for any landlord. Inspecting your rental property on a regular basis can benefit you in a number of ways.
The following are some of the benefits:
- You may be able to identify maintenance issues as soon as they crop up.
- You may be able to ensure your rental property abides by the relevant health, safety, and building codes.
- The routine inspections may be able to help you check whether the tenant is abiding by the terms of the agreement.
Your inspection checklist should include things like smoke batteries, furnace filters, water leaks, and water damage.
Also, make sure to respect your tenant’s privacy. California requires landlords to provide tenants with a “reasonable” advance notice prior to entering their rented premises.
3. Create a solid lease agreement.
This is a must-have if you want to have a smooth landlording experience. Having a solid lease agreement can help protect your valuable investment from various issues, including careless property damage, nonpayment of rent, as well as a host of other undesirable behaviors.
When drafting a lease agreement, you’ll want it to contain the following:
- Important rent details
- Occupancy limits
- Length of lease
- Tenant maintenance responsibilities
If you’re just starting out, consider hiring experts to help draft the lease on your behalf.
An experienced property manager can help make it foolproof, thereby protecting you and your investment.
4. Make necessary improvements to your rental property.
If your rental property is becoming high maintenance, it could be time to invest in the right upgrades.
Not all renovations or upgrades are created equally, though. Some can provide you a higher return on investment than others.
The following are some of the improvements you could consider making:
- Renovate the kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the home. Your goal should be to make it as functional and practical as possible. Among other things, go for efficiency in appliances, as well as look of the kitchen’s décor.
- Renovate the bathroom. Make sure it has things like a towel ring, a mirror, a toilet roll holder, and some cabinets.
- Give the home a fresh coat of paint. Faded paint can make your home look tired and bland.
- Consider installing new floors. If you have the budget, go for hardwood floors. They are not only durable, but are also beautiful and have a high ROI.
- Go for amenities that renters want. Such amenities include a dishwasher, granite countertops, walk-in closets, and stainless steel appliances.
5. Fill vacant units quickly.
Every day your property remains vacant is money down the drain. In addition, vacant units are at a heightened risk of vandalism, squatters and theft.
If you have a vacant unit, below are a couple of things you could do to keep it safe:
- Inspect it on a regular basis.
- Ask a neighbor to keep a keen eye on it while you’re away.
- Secure all main entryways.
It’s also a great idea to enlist the help of a property management company. A good property management company will help you market the property vigorously so as to land a great tenant.
6. Build a good landlord-tenant relationship.
Having a good relationship with your tenant is a recipe to a smooth landlording experience.
The following are some tips to help you in this regard:
- Make sure your lease is clear and unambiguous.
- Respect your tenant’s privacy by providing them an advance notice prior to entry.
- Have a thorough tenant screening process.
- Charge your tenants the right rent amount.
- Respond to your tenants’ maintenance requests promptly.
7. Always charge tenants a security deposit.
This is perhaps the first line of defense you have against tenant damages. The purpose of a security deposit is to cushion a landlord against potential negligent actions that can lead to costly damages.
There you have it – 7 tips to prevent tenant damages to your rental property.
If you need expert help in this regard, Realevate Specialists can help. We provide professional property management services throughout Temecula and San Diego Counties.
Contact us today to learn more!
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.