Preventing Tenant Damage to Your Property
September 28, 2016
As a landlord or a real estate investor, you always have to be concerned about the condition of your property, especially when it is in-between tenants. One of the many benefits for an investor that property management companies provide is preparing their rental for a new tenant. Obviously, since tenants use a rental home for living purposes, there is going to be a certain amount of normal wear and tear involved. However, the difficult part for most landlords is being able to distinguish between normal wear and tear and accidental or deliberate damage.
Normal Wear and Tear vs. Damage
So how can you tell the difference between the two?
Although this is a bit subjective, most property management companies will agree on the following 4 examples of normal wear and tear versus damage:
Normal wear and tear – Worn carpeting / Damage – Stained or torn carpeting
Normal wear and tear – Cooktop looks used with minor stains / Damage – Cooktop is scratched
Normal wear and tear – Nail holes in the walls / Damage – Wall touch-ups appear to be botched, e.g. fillers are uneven or paint is mismatched
Normal wear and tear – Scuffs on the walls / Damage – Doors and walls have been scratched by pets, large furniture scrapes on the walls, etc.
Regular use over time would include nail holes in the walls, small marks on the walls, and worn carpeting. Whenever you have a long-term renter, these issues are fairly common whereas damage is much more significant. Damage almost always requires repairs and/or replacements.
Who Pays For Damages to Your Property?
As a landlord, you should always expect to pay for some repairs when you are getting your property ready for a new tenant. However, if there are damages that the tenant has caused, they should be responsible for them and pay the repair costs. However, when you don’t have a property management company taking care of your investment, you’ll probably get stuck with those repair costs. Why? Because you probably won’t have the proper documents proving that the tenant is responsible. So if they contest the issue or deny having damaged your property, you’ll get stuck paying for it. Caution and periodic monitoring is advised.
What is the Best Way to Prevent Rental Property Damage?
The obvious way to prevent any damages to the home you are leasing out is to find a higher quality tenant. So what’s the best way to do that? Hire a property management company that utilizes a rigorous screening process. This is the only way to ensure that damages will be kept to a bare minimum when renting out your home. The right property management company will educate the tenant on the proper way to take care of the property and what they are responsible for. In the long run this will save you a considerable amount of repair expense.