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When Damage Occurs at Your Rental Property

No matter how much effort and preparation goes into caring for a rental property, accidents sometimes happen and damage does occur. When damage occurs, it is important to have a clear understanding of any damage policies that are in place to protect both the landlord and the tenant.

It can be difficult, in some situations, to know who is responsible for damages. Some damage is clearly the responsibility of the landlord while some may fall to the tenant. Here are a few tips and ideas to consider next time your property is damaged.

Understanding Wear and Tear

Most lease agreements have a provision for normal wear and tear in a rental property to account for a reasonable amount of deterioration that may take place under normal living conditions. The definition of “normal wear and tear” can be a subject for debate, but for the most part it includes things like faded paint, broken wall switches or worn out carpet or tile. These types of repairs are not necessarily considered damage and are typically covered by the landlord.

In some cases, damage goes beyond normal wear and tear. For example, heavy carpet staining, broken windows, holes in the wall or unapproved changes to the structure of the property can all be considered damage that tenants are responsible for.

Did Your Tenant Contact You?

When damage does occur, your tenant’s willingness to communicate with you is a good indication of whether or not it is their responsibility or not. If your tenant attempts to hide damage or fails to alert you when it happens, there’s a greater chance that the damage was not only caused by the tenant, but should also be paid for by the tenant.

There are some damages that will occur that are much more serious and cannot be covered by a tenant. Damage caused by extreme weather, for example, is typically not something the tenant can control.

Payment

If damage occurs and is clearly the responsibility of the tenant, be sure to communicate clearly with the tenant regarding repairs, including costs. It is better to address the subject of payment early on so that there is no second guessing down the road.

Some landlords find it easier to pay for the repairs themselves, then present the invoice of the repair charges to the tenant giving them the option to pay be a certain date or have that amount taken out of their security deposit.

RPM East Valley Can Help

One of the great advantages of working with a property management company is that we can take care of situations like this for you. Not only will we handle the repair for you in a timely fashion, but we’ll also take care of collecting the payment for such repairs from the tenant. Another benefit of using our turnkey property management services is that we have a preferred vendor list full of trusted vendors who are able to perform maintenance and repair work at a discounted price. 

To learn more about what we can do for you, call us at 480-719-1243.

The Importance of Background and Credit Checks

As you look to find new renters for your property, it is important that you take the right steps in order to find the best possible tenant. The last thing you want to do is skimp on this process only to have it come back to haunt you down the road. Bad tenants, or tenants that are unable to fulfill their part of a lease, can be cause of major stress for rental property owners.

Besides having your potential renters fill out an application and prove their ability to pay rent, it’s also important to perform both a credit and background check. While these steps do take additional time and effort, they can provide important insight into your potential renters allowing you to make a more informed decision.

Credit Checks

Most landlords want to make sure that their tenants are able to pay the monthly rent by verifying their income. Unfortunately, there are some people who may bring in plenty of money to pay rent, but are careless or unreliable with paying their bills on time or at all. A credit check can help you identify such poor habits. Running a credit check also allows you to see if there are any major financial glitches on your tenants record, such as bankruptcies, repossessions or evictions. You’ll also be able to see if they are behind on payments on credit cards or car payments.

While a credit report may not give the complete story on your tenant’s history, it can at least help you be more informed. A poor credit report may not be enough to completely reject the tenant, but it can certainly help you make an informed decision.

Background Checks

No one is perfect and we have all made mistakes in the past. The problem is, some people’s mistakes are much bigger than others and may have a major impact on your decision whether to have them as a tenant. A background check will alert you of any legal issues including arrests and convictions of crime. You may see information on a background check that was conveniently left off of your application.

Some landlords find it difficult to be in a place of judgment when it comes to a person’s background or decision-making. It’s important to look at the renting process as a business decision. The last thing you want to deal with is having to evict a tenant for failure to pay rent when you might have avoided the situation by doing a proper background check.

Are you unsure how to file for a credit or background check? Call RPM East Valley for assistance. We’re very familiar with the process and have helped hundreds of rental property owners in the past. 480-719-1243

Is it Time to Repaint?

Investment property owners know how important the appearance of their rental home is as they work to attract new tenants. You only get one chance to make a good first impression and old, worn-out paint just won’t cut it. The truth is, as a rental property owner, you’re going to have to deal with paint at some point – the question is how long before you have to repaint?

Is Repainting Required Between Tenants?

There are only a handful of places in the U.S. where painting between tenants is required. While repainting is usually a good idea for both marketing and aesthetics, as a property owner, you are not legally required to repaint. In most places, it is required that the paint be in good condition, which means it isn’t chipping or peeling. However, it doesn’t have to be fresh paint.

The Benefits of Fresh Paint

As your previous tenants move out, you might look at the paint of your rental property and feel that it is still good enough to last another year or 2. There is a big difference between what you feel is acceptable and what your prospective tenants are expecting. The look and smell of fresh paint is something that is definitely noticed by prospects when they come to check out your property. It adds a psychological boost that can help seal the deal as you work to get a new lease signed.

It’s Worth It

Of all the maintenance and repairs you might do to make your rental property more appealing, new paint is among the most affordable. The truth is, fresh paint can become the focus that distracts from other blemishes or imperfections in the home. You may end up saving on other small repairs or upgrades that are overlooked because of a couple of coats of new paint.

Paint Adds Durability

Experts will say that a professional paint job can last for up to 7 to 10 years. Over time, normal wear and tear will occur including scuffs, chips and marks. These require a simple touch-up rather than complete repainting. As long as the walls are in good condition, you can put off repainting for several years. Once the scuffs and other marks get to a certain point, it is better to just repaint rather than trying to clean them.

We understand that most property owners want to steer clear of expensive repairs and upgrades to their rental homes between tenants. Your goal is to see the best ROI possible. However, by choosing to put off repainting too long, you may find that it is a big turn off for prospective tenants.

Learn more about what you can do to prep your rental home for new tenants by talking to the experts at RPM East Valley480-719-1243.

Do You Have a Good Relationship With Your Tenant?

When so much of the success of your investment property relies on keeping it occupied with good tenants, it is important that landlords take the time to develop some sort of relationship with them. Some rental property owners have their own horror stories of terrible tenants who become more of a problem and less of an asset as time goes on. For others, the landlord/tenant relationship is a breeze.

Bad relationships with tenants can be prevented if you take the right steps to ensure you establish the proper expectations in a kind and polite way from the beginning. Here are a few ideas that can help:

Good Communication

Many disagreements and stressful relationships between landlord and tenant can be avoided by simply focusing on good communication. As the landlord, you should initiate quality communication from the very first time you interact with a potential tenant. Some simple chit-chat can help develop a feeling of mutual trust, which can be followed by clear communication on expectations such as rent being paid on time. This will help your tenant feel more at ease in communicating with you in the future should a problem arise that needs immediate attention.

Be Respectful

Always remember that you should never view your tenants solely as the rent check they send each month. Remind yourself that they are people trying to get ahead in life just like you. If you want your tenants to respect you as the landlord and property owner, start by respecting their privacy and their relationship to your goals. Remember that a tenant who pays rent on time is helping you be a successful investment property owner.

Maintain Regular Contact

Having regular contact with your tenants is a great way to build a good relationship with them. This doesn’t mean that you drop in unannounced once a week or call them several times a month, but don’t ignore them either. If you do decide to pay your property a visit, give your tenant a heads up by calling ahead or sending them a quick text. Be sure to give them a call every now and again to see how things are going and not just to discuss rent or repairs. When your tenant feels like you honestly care about them, they are happier, feel more secure and will be more willing to re-sign their lease when the time comes if you want them to.

Many property owners have found that hiring an established and professional property management company to maintain clear communication between landlord and tenant helps create a good relationship. Find out how RPM East Valley can help you find and keep good tenants. Call us at 480-719-1243.