As a landlord, you worked hard to acquire your property and hopefully, you’re proud of its condition and quality. That’s why it can be scary anding such a valuable asset off to tenants. In fact, there’s nothing worse than a tenant or group of tenants that destroys your rental unit. But there are some things you can do to prevent tenant damage to your property. Here are five suggestions.

The first and most important step to protecting your property is finding tenants that will respect it. The number one way to find great renters is by screening them effectively. There are plenty of platforms that offer free, easy ways to screen tenants online, and we can’t recommend it enough. 

A good tenant screening service will provide a credit, criminal, and eviction history. But there is plenty more info you’ll find useful. Make sure you’ve created an application with questions that are relevant to your property. For example, if you are pet friendly, ask specifics about their furry friend. Find out about who else they expect to have in their property (children, significant others, friends, etc.). Get employment information and make phone calls. Ask references and supervisors about their behavior and if that person would entrust them with a property. Add all the info up and you’ll ensure you find tenants that will respect your property as much as you do.

  • Show Tenants You Care

Another great way to ensure your tenants treat your property with respect is to show them how much you care about that property. When you’re touring the property, explain to them any work you put into it. Let them know what the property means to you, or the positive experience that some of your favorite past tenants have had. 

Show your prospective renter how much you care about the unit and the feeling will be contagious. They’ll fall in love just like you do, taking pride in their home and treating it with the respect it deserves.

  • Collect An Appropriate Deposit

There are of course plenty of steps you can take to prevent your tenants from damaging your property, but sometimes, it’s just inevitable. Maybe you rented to the wrong renter, maybe they had a surprise incident – regardless of the reason, it happens. When it does, you’ll rely on the security deposit you collected at the beginning of the lease.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you collect a security deposit that is appropriate for the property and the renter. It is okay to collect a higher deposit from some tenants than others, just make sure the reasoning is clear to the renter and you’re consistent in the requirement. If their credit score is on the edge of what you typically accept, you may have a clause that states they can rent it but they’ll need to provide an extra $500 in a deposit. Or you could increase the deposit based on pets, number of occupants, etc. 

Collecting a larger security deposit not only helps you in the case that damage does occur, but also provides an incentive for your tenants to maintain the property themselves. They want that security deposit back after all! In order for them to get it, they’ll need to make sure the property is in great condition when they leave.

  • Sign A Lease!

It may seem like a silly suggestion, but for goodness sake, make sure you sign a lease! And not only that, make sure that the lease agreement has a clause that deals with your security deposit, how and when it can be used, and what you will do in the case of damage to the property. There are plenty of standard lease agreements online if you don’t already have one. 

Again, this isn’t just about handling a potentially problematic situation when it occurs, but also about preventing it from happening in the first place. Even if you’re renting to a friend, having a lease in place is an absolute must. 

  • Check On Your Property

Last, but certainly not least – don’t forget to check on your property! You of course want to respect your renter’s privacy, but finding an excuse to drop into the unit will always give you reassurance that the renter is respecting your property. What’s more, if your tenant knows you come by periodically, they’ll do a better job ensuring it’s presentable.

Changing air filters, checking on major appliances like the refrigerator or washer / dryer, or doing an annual check-in are all great excuses that can get you in the door semi-regularly. Make sure you’re alerting your tenant ahead of time and you should be legally in the right.

Conclusion

You never want to walk into a property after collecting the keys from your tenant to find your beloved investment is in ruins. The work you’ll need to put into it to get it back to rentable shape is only half the problem. You’ll likely lose money, time that it could be rented by a new tenant, and in worst-case scenarios, some of the damage could be permanent. That’s why it’s so important to take some steps to ensure your renters are treating your property well. 

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