5 Tips to Prevent Damage to your Rental Property
When you open your Louisville property to renters, you need to prepare yourself for the possibility that damages will occur. Some of this damage will be light and attributed to normal wear and tear due to the passage of time. However, some of the damage could be heavy, and this could be due to the effectiveness of your tenant screening process, or your own maintenance schedule.
There are many ways you can combat tenant damages to your Louisville rental. This article will give you some tips to keep your rental property damage free!
Damage-prevention tips for your Louisville rental:
1. Create a clear lease agreement.
A good lease agreement provides the tenant with a specific set of policies to follow. The lease should not only protect your property under the law but should also comply with the Fair Housing Act. This benefits the landlord by explicitly indicating the tenant’s responsibilities towards the Louisville rental unit, such as:
Keeping the rental reasonably clean
A tenant is expected to observe hygienic practices to discourage mold growth and to keep the property free from pest infestation. Disposing of the trash properly can also be included to eliminate odors and maintain the unit’s habitability. Failing to do so can be deemed as tenant neglect.
Outlining the procedure for reporting repairs
Part of a tenant’s duty is to report property issues. By doing so, the landlord can give adequate attention to issues before they become severe and maintain the value of their Louisville rental over time. It’s important to include the steps on how to file maintenance requests so a tenant knows what to do.
2. Ask for a security deposit.
Security deposits incentivize tenants to pay more attention to their rental space. They’re more likely to report issues immediately so repairs don’t get out of hand, and the property is able to be maintained on a preventative schedule. Having a security deposit on the line creates a real sense of obligation for tenants to focus on preserving the condition of their rental unit. Check out our post on Kentucky security deposit laws to find out legal specifics.
When it comes to security deposits, remember to:
Mention the type of deductions on security deposits in leasing agreements
The more specific you are when it comes to deductions due to property damage, the more tenants are obliged to observe them. Being made aware of expectations leads to more responsible behavior. Additionally, everyone wants to obtain a full security deposit refund, so they’re bound to care for a unit and prevent as much damage as possible.
3. Implement a proper tenant screening procedure.
If you choose the right kind of tenant for your Louisville rental property, you can limit the number of issues you run into when it comes to property damage. The best way to obtain a responsible, high-quality tenant is to follow a stringent standard when conducting tenant screening.
Here’s what you should focus on:
Previous rental history
You can interview previous landlords to know if a prospective tenant has committed violations and destroyed property. Obtaining this information beforehand allows you to determine if a tenant is problematic before they ever sign a lease. If damages occurred in their last unit, then it’s probable that the same behavior can manifest in your rental unit.
Find out if the prospective tenant has any prior evictions. This is a definite red flag. Closely scrutinizing past behavior gives you an indication of how a tenant will treat your rental space. It’s a waste of time, energy, and money to deal with the aftermath of irresponsible tenant behavior. This can be failing to pay the rent or damaging the rental property.
4. Inspect your rental unit regularly.
The more vigilant you are about maintaining the state of your Louisville rental property, the more tenants will care about its condition. A good landlord will have frequent inspections especially at the end of a season. Checking the roof after winter and rainy seasons can protect your rental home from water damage.
Other ways for a landlord to ensure the property is well looked after are:
Creating a move-in checklist
To encourage renters to maintain the condition of your Louisville rental space, record its state prior to move-in. Getting your property rental ready is paramount. By setting the bar high, the tenant is expected to offer the same care and attention towards the property.
Documenting the property’s condition provides proof to show the tenants the level of maintenance the property is in prior to their move and creating a checklist of the various appliances and features creates a sense of accountability for your unit.
5. Develop a good relationship with your tenants.
A good landlord-tenant relationship makes the rental operation of your Louisville rental stress-free. Tenants who respect their landlord adhere to the policies set in the leasing agreement. You’ll also know them better and keep them happy. If they’re satisfied with your customer service, then they’re going to be long-term tenants.
Fulfill your end of the bargain and make sure to be a good landlord by:
Promptly responding to maintenance requests
Appreciate tenants who report property issues right away. This has the added benefit of cutting down your costs in the long run because you are addressing maintenance concerns before they get out of hand. Aside from the state law on providing a habitable rental space, active observance of property maintenance strengthens your relationship with the tenants.
Honoring your tenant’s privacy and right to quiet enjoyment
Everyone is entitled to privacy, and privacy is protected under Kentucky landlord-tenant laws. Always respect your tenant’s privacy and provide a peaceful home. Communicate your expectations and observe proper boundaries in your relationship by providing adequate notice when you need to enter their unit and responding to their concerns in a timely fashion.
The Bottom Line
While eliminating property damages in your rental unit might be an impossible feat, there are steps you can take to mitigate many of the heavy costs associated with the upkeep and maintenance of your Louisville rental unit. From ensuring your tenants are of a certain caliber through a careful screening process to tackling maintenance requests promptly to prevent further damage down the line, you can avoid severe tenant damages to your Louisville property with the tips we’ve outlined above.
If you are wondering how to screen tenants effectively, or don’t have time to handle your rental’s maintenance needs, consider hiring a professional property management company for your Kentucky rental properties. Contact Alltrade Property Management today!