What keeps you awake at night? If you’re a property owner or manager, there are likely 2 or 3 things topping the list: financial issues, the unknown, and property damage. If you find yourself worrying about #3 on that list a bit more often than you’d like, considering the following 6 tips that can help significant decrease the need for such worry.
- Put it in writing. One of the best things you can do to protect your property and yourself is ensure you have an ironclad lease. This is your opportunity to very clearly define what is acceptable and what is not, what is allowed and what is not, who has responsibility if and when any damages occur, and the costs associated with damages. It’s not possible to be too careful or too verbose with the language. Get detailed. Then, have an attorney look it over to make sure you’ve got the protection you need.
- Screen applicants. If you’re not already screening (why on Earth not?!), this will give you even more incentive to do so. Screening an applicant not only gives insight into credit history; it can also provide details on his/her background, including criminal history, references, etc. Learning whether or not he/she has had issues with former landlords, evictions, and the related, can provide a pretty good character reference from which to base a decision. When the opportunity presents itself, take it to call upon those references and past landlords so you’re as informed as possible when it comes to whom you let live on your property.
- Make deposits mandatory. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re landing the most loyal and trustworthy tenant with a super clean record. Deposits are there to protect you and should be mandatory for every tenant, consistently. This way, if damage does occur, you have that safety net. Applicable out-of-pocket costs to you as well as insurance and fees (as outlined in the lease) can then be applied against that amount.
- Foster relationships. If you’re an owner or manager who finds him or herself faced with damage often, you might want to examine the amount of time and effort put toward getting to know and maintaining relationships with tenants. If tenants know the property is well looked after and great interest is paid to details as well as to them, they are less likely to do damage. On the other hand, if they feel neglected or know no one watching, it likely won’t matter as much. Show interest and your tenants will know you care, encouraging both loyalty and a sense of obligation to the property itself.
- Follow-through. If the lease identifies legal action as the outcome for damages when retribution cannot be claimed, you need to follow through. This will not only help in the attempt to recoup costs, but send a message to other tenants about the seriousness of the offense, hopefully deterring others from the same fate.
- Get help. Sometimes the best thing an owner can do in these situations is get some professional help from a professional property management firm. Having a party in your corner who knows how to construct the best contract, vet all applicants adequately, and monitor the goings-on of the property on a consistent basis helps ensure its viability and return for years to come.
The best thing about this list? Implementing these tips will not only help decrease the amount of worry you have over property damage; it will also help decrease worries related to both financial issues and the unknown as well. Win-win-win!
Originally posted by Class A Management on June 23, 2015
About Class A Management
Home-grown in the Lone Star state, Class A Management has been helping multifamily property owners achieve success through its award-winning management services for nearly 30 years.