How to Prevent Property Damages

By Kaitlin Hurtado on February 11, 2022

As a property manager, you are going to face multiple issues in your day-to-day work, whether it’s a tenant complaint or getting your latest vacancy filled as soon as possible. Another issue you are bound to run into is property damage from your tenants. Unfortunately, property damage is bound to happen whether it be intentional or accidental as tenants settle into their rental units and make it their homes. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to help prevent property damage and minimize the severity of any damage done to your rental property.

Keep reading for tips on how to prevent property damages.

Photo: Pexels

Establish an effective tenant screening process

One of the best things you can do to prevent property damages is make sure you have good and trustworthy tenants. To do this, you should do your due diligence with an established and effective tenant screening process.

Depending on how large your rental property, or how high your turnover rate is, this may seem like a chore, but ensuring that you have a good tenant screening process in place can help you immensely in the future. First, it can help eliminate the headache of dealing with bad tenants due to poor behavior, inability to pay rent on time, lease violations, or having to deal with an eviction. Most importantly, screening your tenants means you will be more likely to know exactly who you are renting to.

When screening tenants, examine their rental history, especially if they can offer the contacts of past landlords. Call their past landlords to question how the applicant was a tenant. Did they leave behind property damages that were beyond typical wear and tear? How was the property damage handled by them? For example, maybe the damage resulted from an accident and the tenant went above and beyond to make sure the damage was dealt with. On the other hand, did the tenant leave the rental in a disaster with no explanation? If it’s the latter situation, you definitely do not want to have a tenant like that in your own rental property.

The best way to handle property damages is to prevent them by screening applicants for who makes a good tenant.

Establish a clear lease or rental agreement 

When you have a lease or rental agreement that strictly outlines what is expected of a tenant, you can help prevent potential issues with tenants, and help prevent property damages. In your rental agreement, clearly address your expectations on behaviors associated with common property damages.

Outright stating that your rental property is a smoke-free property can establish that smoking is banned on your property. By signing a lease agreement, the tenant legally acknowledges the rule.

Make it clear how property damages are dealt with, such as who is responsible for covering the damages.

Keep in touch with tenants 

With any tenant, especially long-term tenants, you will want to perform routine inspections of your rental property. They can help you identify issues that need further maintenance that the tenant hasn’t disclosed or noticed on their own. You will also be able to verify that the rental property is still up to code as it was prior to the tenant moving in.

Of course, no tenant wants a property manager barging into their living space unannounced. Make sure that your tenant is well aware of the inspection ahead of time and make an effort to connect and confirm with them, don’t just leave a voicemail and hope for the best.

For tenants who are renting long-term, routine inspections are helpful in preventing overall property damage as the unit isn’t getting the same maintenance attention as units that face more turnover do.

Make maintenance requests easy (and prompt) 

Tenants will be more likely to phone in a maintenance request when they know it will be taken care of promptly. If they have to put in the effort of several follow-ups with no action on your or your maintenance team’s part, they are more likely to throw in the towel and leave any issues as-is. For small issues, it may not seem like a big deal, but if left unattended, a small issue can escalate into extensive property damage that could have been easily avoided if all parties had cooperated and stayed on top of getting the issue resolved.

For example, a small leak left unattended could lead to paint or surface damage, or even mold. If a tenant phoned it in, or if maintenance had attended to the issue right away, the property damage could have been avoided. With that being said, make sure that tenants are well aware of how to bring up maintenance issues to you or your team and make sure that their issues are identified and resolved in a prompt manner.

Preventing property damages is an important part of being a successful property manager. With these tips in mind, you can minimize the possibility of property damages to your rentals.

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