Considering how much time, effort and capital many landlords put into managing their respective rentals, it’s easy to see why they’d be adamant about protecting their investments. Unfortunately, far too many property owners allow their rentals to gradually fall into disrepair. Not only does this make life unpleasant for tenants, it can also result in various code violations and potentially land you in legal trouble. Any landlord looking for effective ways to prevent their property from becoming untenable should heed the following pointers.
Have Your Property Regularly Inspected
Having your rental property inspected by a certified professional is a great way to stay abreast of a wide variety of issues. An experienced inspector will be able to identify a plethora of problems and recommend repairs and/or renovations accordingly, ensuring that issues are caught – and addressed – as early as possible. Regular inspections can also help ensure that your property is kept up to code, which is particularly important in municipalities that utilize cutting-edge code enforcement software.
Treat Maintenance as a Top Priority
Treating maintenance as an afterthought and ignoring vital repairs or renovations can create a host of problems for both you and your tenants. For starters, a general lack of attention to maintenance stands to compromise the overall livability of a property. If an issue you’re ignoring has made a property less safe, don’t be surprised if you’re faced with withheld rental payments, scathing online feedback, low retention, steep fines or costly lawsuits.
Fortunately, you can avoid all of these outcomes by consistently staying on top of maintenance. In addition to addressing every maintenance request you receive in an expedient manner, you’ll need to ensure that you have enough maintenance personnel to accommodate your property and its inhabitants. For example, if the property in question is an apartment building or condo complex, you may have dozens – if not hundreds – of units to attend to. And since there’s no way you’ll be able to handle this yourself, you may need to hire a full-time maintenance staff.
As a property owner, you have nothing to gain by adopting a laid-back approach to maintenance. Ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away – it makes them grow bigger. And the bigger the problem, the costlier fixing it is going to prove. Furthermore, if your tenants are given the impression that maintenance is unimportant to you, there’s a good chance they’ll make their displeasure known across the web, causing tremendous damage to your professional reputation.
Be Thorough When Screening Rental Applicants
Failing to properly screen rental applicants can create a number of problems for you. For example, if you take on a high-risk applicant who suddenly stops paying rent, evicting them is liable to be a long and arduous process. Furthermore, even if a high-risk applicant has no problem staying current with rent, they may not take good care of the property.
In the interest of avoiding situations like these, take care to place every rental application you receive through a thorough screening process. In addition to confirming an applicant’s income situation and having a look at their credit, you’ll also need to consider their criminal background – provided, of course, they have one. While being convicted of a crime needn’t necessarily prevent them from gaining approval, it’s important to take the offense into careful consideration. If the crime in question is something that could cause damage to the property or place other renters at risk, it may not be a good idea to take a chance on the offending party.
You’ll also need to take an applicant’s rental history into account – again, provided they even have one. For instance, if you come to discover that they’ve been evicted multiple times and/or have a history of causing damage to rental properties, these should serve as red flags.
Given the high costs associated with purchasing and maintaining rental properties, it’s reasonable to assume that landlords would be keen on protecting their investments. Unfortunately, a fair number of landlords fail to take basic steps to keep their respective properties out of harm’s way. Needless to say, this can prove problematic for tenants and landlords, as it decreases both the value of the property and its overall livability. Landlords who are looking to protect their properties and ensure a comfortable living experience for their renters would do well to consider the advice outlined above.