How To Fortify Your Rental Property Against Damage
Let’s face it. People can be clumsy, accident-prone, and dirty. You might have what you believe are some great tenants – they pay on time, repairs are few and far between, never a complaint – but when you’re ready to rent your property to new tenants, and you do a closing rental contract property inspection, you could be in for a rude surprise.
You can take steps to “tenant-proof” your property. These are tried and true ideas and techniques that really work.
Protect Your Walls
Use Glossy Paint
Why? It’s easier to scrub off scuffs and stains from glossy vs. matte paint. Yes, matte finish is a little cheaper to buy, but glossy paint will last you longer.
Prohibit TV Mounting
TVs and their wall mounts leave large holes in your drywall. Also, consider the liability issue if the TV falls off the wall for whatever reason (earthquake comes to mind?). What if a baby or a toddler is underneath that TV when it tumbles to the floor?
The best (really only) way to prevent your tenants from wall mounting a TV is by writing a clause into your lease agreement prohibiting it.
Put A Door Stop Behind Every Door
Doors get slammed, especially by kids. Do you want a bunch of doorknob-sized holes on your walls? Super simple to prevent this from happening; install door stops on every door in the house.
Talk about a cost-efficient idea. Installing door stops in your rental property will likely cost you less than $50. It would cost you at least fifty bucks to repair one hole in the wall caused by a slammed door.
Make Sure All Of Your Racks, Bars, And Hooks Are Screwed Into Studs
Whether it’s a towel bar, paper towel holder, a pots and pan rack in the kitchen, or a coat rack, be sure that it is securely mounted to a stud. Do not trust a” Molly Bolt,” an expandable drywall fastener, to hold any object other than something very light (like a small picture).
Invest less than ten dollars in a stud finder and use it before screwing any fixtures into the wall.
Protect Your Floors
When Replacing Flooring, Avoid Hardwood Floors and Carpets
Carpets simply do not hold up to wear and tear. Consider this – what happens to your beautiful new rug when your tenant drops a glass of red wine on it? Tenants will scratch up hardwood floors and often damage them beyond repair over time.
A better option is faux wood, luxury vinyl tile, or bamboo flooring. Today’s synthetic flooring options are often indistinguishable from hardwood floors.
Require Felt Pads On All Furniture Feet
Put a clause in your lease holding renters responsible for damage to your floors. Then, spend fifteen bucks or less and give them two or three boxes of felt pads. This sounds like a minor thing but felt pads prevent floor damage, big time.
Put A Shoe Rack By The Front Door
People track in mud, rocks, leaves, anything and everything from the outside into your rental home. Since you can’t really get away with putting a “take off your shoes in the house” clause, do the next best thing, install a shoe rack by the front door.
Other Good Ideas
Switch Screen Doors and Storm Doors To Plexiglass
Glass breaks. Screens deteriorate over time. Strong, scratch-resistant plexiglass is nearly as clear as glass.
Simplify Your Landscaping
Extensive, ornate landscaping is hard (and expensive) to maintain. Yes, maintain curb appeal, but get rid of landscaping that requires tenants (or expensive contractors) to do serious upkeep.
Require Tenants To Replace Air Filters
Another good lease clause – require tenants to replace air filters in AC units and furnaces every three months. Let them know precisely what air filter is needed and where they can buy them (an online purchase link is probably best).
Old air filters damage HVAC units and waste energy, increasing your tenants’ utility bills.
Okay, I saved the most important tip for last…
Inspect your Rental Property Every Six Months
There is simply no substitute for a semi-annual inspection. It does not have to be overly intrusive, but you need to see what’s going on.
You need to know things like –
Are the same people living there who signed the lease? How would you know if a deadbeat boyfriend moved in unless you check?
What pets are living at your house? This may be the most common lease violation, a tenant bringing in that cute little dog they simply must have. If your lease says no pets, you need to know about fido to deal with the situation.
Do you have damage to floors, fixtures, walls, etc., that needs to be addressed?
At Sterling Property Solutions, we have a team in place that can answer all your questions and address any challenges. We are not a “cookie-cutter” property management company. Our strength is tailoring a property management program that addresses your individual needs.
Please give me a ring at 914-355-3277 or send me an email at Linda@Sterlingpsi.com. Together, let’s form a plan for you to take full advantage of the current conditions and put in place a robust, long-term program for your success.