While damage to your rental property may be inevitable, that does not mean that there is nothing you can do to minimize it.
In today’s article, we at Pro X Property Management will provide you seven proven tips on how you can prevent or minimize tenant damage to your rental property.
Screen Prospects Meticulously
All tenants are different, with different attitudes regarding how to care for a property. So, having an effective tenant screening process can help you figure out which of the prospects will help your business grow, and which will not.
A thorough tenant screening process is one that qualifies a tenant based on a number of items:
- For one, it examines a tenant based on their credit rating. It is a known fact: a person’s credit rating is directly proportional to their financial wellbeing.
- Two, it examines a tenant based on their income level. As a general rule, only rent to tenants who make a monthly income that is at least three times the rent amount. If, for instance, the monthly rent is $1,200, then only consider prospects earning at least $3,600 every month.
- Three, a good screening test is one that examines tenants on the basis of their rental history. So, call past landlords and ask them several questions regarding the applicant.
Please note, however, that your screening process must abide by the Fair Housing Act. It would be illegal for you to turn down a prospect’s application based on their race, color, religion, sex, or any other protected characteristic.
If you are just getting started, it would be best to simply hire a property management company to do the screening for you.
Draft a Solid Lease Agreement
When renting out a property, you need to have rules in place in order to protect your investment and you can set these rules with a lease agreement. After all, no tenant is going to care for your property as much as you.
For the sake of preventing tenant damages, make sure to address the following items:
- Smoking inside the rental unit: Have a “no-smoke” policy to safeguard your property against smoke damage.
- Keeping pets: With an ever increasing number of pet owners in the country, it only makes sense to allow pets into your rental unit. So, it is a good idea to have a policy in place that limits the number, size, and breed of pet allowed. You may also want to charge your tenants a pet deposit or fee to cater for any damage their furry friend causes to the unit.
- Notification about needed repairs: Let your tenant know that they are responsible for notifying you of any needed repairs in the unit.
- Maintenance responsibilities: Additionally, let your tenant know that they are equally responsible for maintaining their rented premises. You may also want to be specific about their maintenance roles so as to avoid confusion.
An effective lease must abide by the Missouri landlord-tenant act. So, again, if you are not well-acquainted with it, have a property manager help you draft it.
Conduct Routine Inspections
Finding a quality tenant is only half the battle. For the other half, you will need to routinely inspect your rental to ensure it is in tiptop shape.
Routine inspections can help your bottom line in a number of ways. To begin with, they help in identification of issues before they become serious and potentially costly.
Secondly, they help you abide by the Missouri safety, health, and structural codes. And thirdly, you are able to keep your tenants on toes in regard to their lease obligations.
Usually, landlords must notify their tenants prior to the intended entry. However, the Missouri landlord tenant law does not have a specific notice period that a landlord must provide. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to be reasonable and courteous when it comes to entering a tenant’s unit. So, 24 hours’ notice will do!
Make the Right Upgrades
Do you find that your rental property requires a lot of maintenance?
If it does, then you should consider investing in some rental upgrades. You may want to consider:
- Replacing the carpeting with wood or tile flooring.
- Replacing dated appliances with new, energy efficient ones.
- Refurbishing scuffed or scratched kitchen cabinets.
- Repainting tired looking walls.
- Adding extra storage spaces to make your rental appealing to large families.
Vacancies can greatly weigh on you as a landlord, as may you lose money every day your property stays vacant. Luckily, there are a couple of things you can do to keep your vacancy rates as low as possible:
- Start the marketing process as soon as your tenant notifies you that they want to move out.
- Create a stunning rental ad to increase engagement.
- Have a vigorous marketing process including a video tour.
- Consider having flexible rental policies.
- Incentivize current tenants to renew their lease through rebates.
- Make necessary upgrades to your rental property to improve its desirability.
Ask for a Security Deposit
A security deposit acts as a financial cushion against any tenant’s negligent actions. The deposit gives them an incentive to care for the property so as to get a full refund after moving out.
There is a limit to how much security deposit you can ask of your tenant. In Missouri, you can only collect a maximum of two months’ rent as security deposit. So if, you charge tenants a monthly rent of $1,000, then the most you can collect as deposit is $2,000.
Establish a Good Relationship with Your Tenant
Establishing a good relationship with your tenant is key to your bottom line. You can do so in multiple ways, including:
- Being responsive to their requests.
- Being respectful by notifying them before entry.
- Charging a reasonable rent.
- Remain personable and professional.
These are the seven proven tips to preventing tenant damages to your rental property. But should they still feel daunting to implement, Pro X Property Management LLC can help.
We are the best property management company in Southwest Missouri, so contact us today!