Turnkey Property Management Tips: Managing Tenants
Your ability to earn a consistent profit from your rental property will depend on three key factors:
- The quality of your property.
- The quality of your property management.
- The quality of your renter.
While it isn’t easy to maintain complete oversight and control over these elements, it is possible – to a degree – to have control over the first two. Properties can be well-maintained and renovated; roperty management teams can be replaced. It’s managing the last factor – the renter – that can be a struggle.
It’s true that finding a tenant that looks good on paper can be a strong indicator of whether he or she will be a great occupant. Having solid credit, a consistent employment history, and good income ticks most of the boxes. Unfortunately, there are variables that can be impossible to predict, and even the most responsible-seeming prospect can slowly reveal him or herself to be a complete nightmare once they move into your unit.
There are numerous ways a tenant can become problematic: Their noise level could encourage others to complain to the authorities; they can be combative with neighbors; they can engage in questionable or illegal activities out of your property; they can fail to pay rent and force you to pursue costly and lengthy legal action to get them out. However, while you might be nearly helpless to prevent or foresee the above issues before disaster strikes, you can actively prevent them from causing lasting damage to your physical property.
There are measures you can take to protect yourself and your property before your tenant moves in and while they are in residence. These precautions can go a long way towards ensuring that a problem tenant doesn’t inflict the maximum amount of damage.
Periodic Property Inspections
Before your tenant moves into your property, have a thorough, top-to-bottom inspection performed by an independent property inspector. While your own property manager will have a report on the vacant condition, it’s nonetheless smart to have another, separate report to fall back upon if the tenant claims faulty or damaged elements preexisted their occupancy.
Additionally, have your property management team inspect the property approximately three months after the tenant has moved in. The report will document how well the tenant is maintaining the residence, and include any signs of neglect, damage, and overall dirtiness that surpasses general untidiness. The report will also take the maintenance of the surrounding property into account. The manager may only need to conduct a sidewalk inspection to determine if the gutters are maintained, the lawn is trimmed and free of debris, and that there is no sign of overgrowth encroaching upon the structure.
If your manager discovers that your tenant is allowing your property to fall into ruin, steps can be taken to repair and restore the property before it becomes severe. The cost of undertaking the maintenance may be charged back to the tenant.
It is important that your tenants understand immediately that maintenance checks will be made periodically as a part of the rental agreement. This alone might help you weed out the tenants that have the most potential for becoming problematic. Ultimately, you may not be able to ensure perfect tenancy, but you can mitigate the cost of highly imperfect tenancy significantly.