The best way to minimize damage to your rental property is to prevent it from happening in the first place. From conducting thorough background checks to setting clear lease terms, landlords can take several steps to safeguard their properties from damage by tenants.
Keep the property well-lit to deter criminal activity. Trimming trees and bushes can also help, as they may act as hiding spots for intruders. Have extended appliance warranties in place in case tenants need a repair or replacement on their appliances.
Install Security Cameras and Alarms
Adding security features is one of the best ways to help your tenants feel safe. Cameras can deter crime and unwanted activity, and they can also help landlords keep track of maintenance requests, package deliveries, and other common rental management tasks.
Landlords are legally allowed to install cameras on their rental properties, as long as they don’t record any spaces that a tenant would have “a reasonable expectation of privacy,” such as their own bedroom, bathroom or changing room.
To avoid violating your tenants’ privacy, choose cameras with a clear notification that recordings are being recorded, and be sure to only use the camera in outdoor areas where it won’t get damaged by rough weather. For a great value, opt for a smart home security system that allows you to monitor your property remotely.
Encourage Your Tenants to Report Property Damage
One of the best ways to mitigate tenant damage is by promoting responsible behavior. In addition to thoroughly screening tenants before signing a lease, it’s also important to encourage tenants to report any property damage as soon as they notice it. This can help reduce disputes and legal complications down the road.
However, it’s challenging to determine whether reported damages are the result of normal wear and tear or tenant negligence. In such cases, it’s essential to carefully review the terms of your tenant agreement and consult a legal professional for guidance. This way, you can make an informed decision regarding any legal recourse you may need to take. Typically, landlords can deduct repair costs from the security deposit in these situations. In addition, you should keep accurate records of all communication and inspections with your tenants.
Bolster Security Around Common Entry Points
Burglaries are one of the most common property crimes, and they can be devastating for tenants. Landlords can help their rental properties stay safe by installing security cameras and alarm systems, providing tenants with a clear lease agreement that includes rent payment due dates and consequences for late payments, and performing regular inspections of the property to prevent damage
caused by tenants.
Landlords can also bolster security by improving the physical entry points of their rental properties. These can include doors, windows, ducts and vents, crawl spaces, roof tops, and more. These improvements can make it harder for intruders to enter the property without being noticed by tenants, and can help reduce insurance premiums. For example, adding deadbolt locks to doors and installing windows that are more difficult to break into can increase security without violating tenants’ privacy rights.
Inspect the Property Regularly
Property inspections are a critical aspect of safeguarding your rental property. You should schedule regular inspections (typically every three to six months) to make sure your tenants are maintaining the property properly.
During these inspections, you can verify that your tenants are meeting lease terms and can check for any evidence of unauthorized pets or guests living in the residence.
It is important to always provide adequate notice prior to inspections so that your renters can be present during the visit. This will help build trust and a professional landlord-tenant relationship.
Additionally, if your renters know that you routinely inspect the property, they will have more incentive to meet the lease terms and maintain a clean home. This can reduce the need for costly repairs down the road.
Prevent Tenant Damage
While some property damage is unavoidable, landlords can take steps to minimize damage caused by tenants. The key is to communicate clearly and consistently with your renters, letting them know that any damage that occurs must be documented thoroughly with photos, repair quotes, and receipts, and must be paid for by the tenant.
One of the best ways to avoid significant property damage is to conduct thorough tenant screening before leasing a home or apartment to new renters. Additionally, it’s important to include a strong lease agreement that outlines tenant responsibilities and provides clear guidelines for making deductions from the security deposit. Performing regular property inspections also helps prevent damage, allowing you to address issues before they become worse. This can help reduce your repair bills and save you from dealing with angry tenants.