How to Keep Tenants From Damaging Your Home

April 5th, 2018 by

If you’re thinking of renting out your home, you probably have a bunch of concerns, namely how to keep tenants from damaging your home. In our experience, one of the biggest worries our Northern Virginia property management clients have is: “How do we make sure the tenants don’t destroy our place?”

Check out this video from our Northern Virginia Landlords 101 series to learn our pointers.

While it may seem to you that you don’t have much control over what happens in your home while you’re not there–you actually do. It’s really all about following three simple steps:

  • Documenting the property’s condition at move-in and move-out.
  • Doing periodic inspections.
  • Incentivizing the tenant to keep the place in good condition.

And for the landlord who’s leaving the area, these three steps generally require some expert assistance. That’s where professional property management comes in. There’s no mystery to it–just good vigilance at the right times. Here’s how an experienced property manager protects your home from damage.

A Property Condition Report Protects You AND Your Tenant

At WJD Management, with every new account and with every new tenancy in existing accounts, our property inspectors prepare a 12-page Property Condition Report (PCR). Tenants sign off on the PCR and it is this document which will be used as a point of reference at the end of the lease.

If tenants see a problem at the time they move in, such as a stain on the carpet, a scratch on the wall or any other items of concern, they can note those issues with as much detail as they care to include. Additionally, if any appliance is not functioning, the tenants can let WJD know so that it can be repaired or replaced right away.

In essence, tenants do their own walk-through, and they itemize any issues that they don’t want to get charged for at the end of the tenancy.

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The Importance of Keeping Eyes on the Property

At six month intervals, our property inspectors go back to the property and create an interior and exterior interim property condition report. They’ll take pictures of anything they might have concerns about. Then, proprietary software sends the written report as well as the photographs to our website. This way, the homeowner can log into our portal, see the areas of concern and then decide what maintenance they need to authorize.

Every good property management company relies upon diligent property inspectors to protect each homeowner they serve from tenant damage to their property. Our lead property inspector, Henry Kurosaka, is our eyes and ears throughout the tenancies. He goes out almost every day to look at the properties and report back to the WJD office.

What Should Happen at the Move-Out Inspection

At the end of the tenancy, at the move-out inspection, the property inspectors will compare the initial report with what the property looks like at that time. And the tenant will be required to pay for any damage beyond reasonable wear and tear (as defined in our deed of lease).

How do homeowners who use professional property management to monitor the condition of the property keep abreast of what’s going on?

Homeowners who work with WJD Management always have access to the interim reports–and of course they can call the office to talk with us if they have any special concerns.

Remember–A Security Deposit is a Powerful Incentive!

Although the prospect of tenant damage may keep a new landlord up at night, avoiding damage is actually pretty simple. A security deposit is a powerful financial incentive–and the rest is about each party fulfilling their responsibilities. It’s up to the property manager to document the condition and hold each tenant accountable. And it’s up to the tenant to demonstrate that all is in order before they move out.

Want to check out the rest of our video series educating Northern Virginia property owners? Just visit our YouTube channel.

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