Investing in a Phoenix rental property can be risky, and a lot of the landlords and owners we talk to are concerned about tenant damage. Protecting your investment from damage is important to your cash flow and the value of your asset.
Several things will help you avoid excessive damage or deterioration that goes beyond wear and tear. We recommend collecting a healthy security deposit, responding promptly to maintenance requests, and establishing a good relationship with your residents. Professional Phoenix property management can also help.
Let’s discuss four specific things that will help you protect yourself, your residents, and your property.
First, Strong Tenant Screening Leads to More Protected Properties
Avoiding property damage starts with good tenant screening. Establish some consistent criteria for the residents you’ll accept, and stick to that criteria when you’re screening. Check credit reports for past evictions and overdue payments that are still owed to former landlords and apartment buildings. Make sure there isn’t anything in an applicant’s criminal history or background that indicates they might be dangerous to people or property.
Talk to current and former landlords as well. Ask rental references if there was any damage left behind or even excessive wear and tear. Find out if they earned their security deposit back at the end of the lease term.
Here at Service Star Realty, we have a couple of resources that can help you find a good tenant. Please refer to our own 21 Step Screening Process as well as another blog we created to help you handle tenant screening effectively.
Second, Routine Inspections Prevent Damage and Deferred Maintenance
Conduct at least one mid-lease inspection. This gives you the opportunity to check up on the tenant and look for any deferred maintenance or damage. We recommend getting inside your property around three months after your tenant has moved in. This will show you whether there are any bad behaviors that need to be addressed before deferred maintenance and unnecessary expenses occur. Piles of garbage may be attracting pests, for example, or you might notice that tenants are smoking despite your no-smoking policy. Look for repair issues that have not been reported and make sure your tenants are following the requirements of their lease agreement.
Hold tenants accountable. Do not wait to deduct damages from their security deposit. You can charge them now for any damages that they have caused. You can require them to pay for anything that’s due to their abuse, neglect, or misuse.
Third, Responsive and Preventative Maintenance
Don’t wait for small problems to turn into large catastrophes. When your residents report a maintenance issue or request a repair, take care of it right away. A leak that’s ignored for weeks or months is going to turn into a plumbing disaster and may result in rot and mold as well. Deferred and unreported maintenance can cause a lot of damage to your property and your relationship with your tenants, so take care of things promptly and completely.
Preventative maintenance can also protect you against property damage. Schedule annual inspections for your air conditioner, water heater, and roof.
And Lastly, Update Your Insurance and Require Renter’s Insurance
Make sure your insurance coverage is intact and comprehensive. It’s also important to require your renters to have their own insurance. A renter’s insurance policy will protect your rental home against any of the tenant’s liability. It also keeps your own insurance lower.
There’s a lot of fraud these days, and that can often lead to property damage and financial loss. We are careful to place watermarks on our marketing photos and we keep a close eye on vacant properties so they don’t become targets for squatters or vandals.
Protecting your property against any potential damage is one of the most important roles of a professional Phoenix property management company. Instead of worrying about what might happen, work with a team of professionals who can protect you against any worst case scenarios.
Contact our team at Service Star Realty. We’d be happy to tell you more.