As you consider investing in rental real estate, you should come to terms with the inevitability of tenant damage to your property. However, that doesn’t mean that you should take a passive role. There are steps that you can take to protect your investment and reduce the cost of damage.
Our team at Fall River Property Management is the leading property service provider in the region. Here are some tips on how you can reduce tenant damage to your rental property.
From our experience in the local property market, screening potential tenants is the best way to prevent damages. That is because tenants who are passive about property maintenance and fail to report issues are often screened out during the tenant screening process.
A comprehensive tenant screening process is a multi-level checklist that assesses the financial capability and character of a tenant. It looks into a tenant’s rental history, employment history, income levels, and criminal background.
However, we always ask landlords to be very careful about how they collect tenants’ information. This is personal information that needs to be protected. Also, there are laws such as the Fair Housing Act that guide how the tenant screening process should be conducted.
We have heard of instances where landlords lease their properties without a lease agreement in place, relying on a verbal agreement. This can be very dangerous for you. If potential issues such as poor property maintenance and late rent collection arise, you have no basis to fall back on.
A solid lease agreement should be the start of the landlord-tenant relationship. It addresses the responsibilities and rights that each party has. The tenant will be aware of their responsibility to keep the property in a decent condition.
The agreement should also prevent the tenant from carrying out risky behaviors in the rental unit such as smoking or removing smoke detectors. The lease agreement should also be signed by both parties, binding them to the terms and penalties of the agreement.
Regular Inspections of the Property
Routine and regular inspections of the property is one of the best recommended tips when it comes to preventing tenant damage. As you inspect the property, be on the lookout for possible signs of maintenance issues or property damage. It helps you if you are well-versed with building, safety, and health codes.
Routine inspection and property maintenance are part of your role as a landlord. Should you find that you lack the technical expertise or experience, you should look for a reputable and diligent property manager.
Your inspection schedule needs to be unique to your property. Some factors to consider as you prepare your inspection schedule include the number of units, the quality of the amenities, tenant foot traffic, and the age of the property.
While you might want to regularly inspect the property, you might be infringing on the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment of the space. Ensure that you are aware of state and local landlord-tenant law recommendations and your lease complies with the same provisions.
Vigilance During Move-In
Every landlord is always happy about move-in day. It signifies the beginning of new rental income. However, it can also be the start of property damage with scratches and dents as furniture is being moved about.
At Falls River Property Management, we offer our clients a comprehensive property solution that ensures their property interests are always protected.
Renovations and Upgrades
This piece of advice mainly applies to older units. Older properties tend to require more maintenance due to the age of the fittings and fixtures. Making the right upgrades reduces the maintenance cost in the long run.
Some of the upgrades that you should consider include floors, countertops, appliances, and window dressings.
Often, landlords have second thoughts about making serious investments during renovations. You shouldn’t be. Tenants look for comfortable spaces that they can see themselves calling home.
They are also willing to pay above-market rent for it. With upgrades to your rental property, you can command higher rent from the tenant pool.
Vacancies and Turnovers
A vacant unit is lost income. You would also be incurring an extra cost as you pay for the utilities of the unit every month. A vacancy also increases the probability of vandalism and theft. How can you reduce the chances of vacancies?
Always keep an eye on the terms of the lease agreement. As the expiry is nearing (about three months prior), engage the tenant on whether they would wish to renew or not. If they plan to move out, start to advertise the rental unit early to reduce the possibility of vacancies.
And what if you already have a vacancy? Ensure that you regularly visit the property and inspect both the indoors and outdoors. This will reduce the possibility of vandalism. Ensure that the entry and exit points are secure.
One element that property owners forget to do is look into their insurance. Some insurers do not want the risk of a vacant property over their heads. Always check if the insurance covers such a scenario.
There is more to rental property investment than just selecting the property and securing a tenant. You have to be ready to invest time and resources in regular maintenance and enforcement of the lease policies. This requires technical expertise that some landlords lack.
Should you wish to outsource the management of your rental unit, Fall River Property Management is just a call away. Our property management company has the expertise, experience, and resources to ensure that all your property needs are met.
Get in touch with us today to find out how we can make your life easier.