A lazy landlord might forego the opportunity to run a check on prospective new tenants. He might relinquish his right to regular property inspections and he may even allow his tenants to decorate his property without the need to seek prior approval. He might also then be shocked to see the state of his property when said tenants finally move out, but he’ll only have himself to blame.
A big part of successful land lording is keeping a tight rein on your tenants. You have to remember at all times that whilst you would never treat somebody else’s property disrespectfully, your tenant may not have the same moral compass and you have to assume that they don’t if you want to protect your investment.
The unsavoury fact is that when people rent your property they are not going to care about it as much as you do. One of the biggest incentives to rent is that there is no need to be concerned with long term maintenance, wear and tear or breakdowns – they can just call you to fix anything that breaks. Why bother putting lots of time and effort into managing the upkeep of a property when they’re just going to leave it eventually?
And this is why you need to set the boundaries early on and, though it can make for some uncomfortable conversations, ensure that they are fully enforced.
We take every precaution to protect our property from overzealous (or down right dirty) tenants but sometimes even that is not enough. We were recently exasperated to attend the final check of our property on move-out day to find that it was filthy.
And yes we were surprised. Our tenants were very nice people who we fully referenced prior to approving them as tenants. We took some time on move in day to explain that lots of aspects of the property had recently been upgraded and that we expected them to be looked after. They nodded in earnest and promised to do so.
Our contract stated that they were allowed to decorate the property but only after asking our permission first, which they did, and at our 3 month inspection we were wowed by their efforts which really did make out property look great.
It was clean and tidy and we left after only a cursory 10 minute check because it really didn’t need anything more.
Why then, only 4 months later when they moved out did we find the property to be in this state:
At this point we had already giving them a glowing reference for their new property and really did believe that they were good tenants, but we were disappointed that they had apparently decided to stop cleaning at the same time they gave us their notice to leave.
Look, it wasn’t expensive to fix – it’s just dirt, but the point is that even when you do all the right things and you have decent tenants, property maintenance can be a problem.
Use every resource available to protect your position in the event that you suffer far worse than we did and if you don’t, you only have yourself to blame.
What do you do to secure the long term health of your rental property? Got any tips for us? Please leave a comment below.
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