How to prevent tenants damaging your property

When entering the world of BTL investments, or even if you have become a more increasingly common “Accidental Landlord” you should be aware of the potentially high overheads that come along with such a move; An extra 3% stamp duty, Landlord Insurance, BTL mortgages, Property Management Fees, the list could go on depending how flamboyant you wish to be with the services you use.

After all these costs, we see BTL investments bringing in an average yield of 4.39% return. In fact, in some areas, Landlords can even achieve yields of up to 6.73% on their investment. Happy days!

In an ideal world, things will run as you would hope. Tenants move in. They reside in your property for the term of their contract. Then move out and move on. Your property will have been managed by your property management company or letting agent and your landlord insurance has covered any issues that you’ve had cropped up with the property.

Hey, there’s even a slight bit of damage caused to the property, but you’re not losing sleep as the deposit has that covered and your tenants happily arranged the repairs to go ahead before moving out.

For those of you that have zoned out daydreaming of such a paradise, it’s time come back too! This next bit’s important

Prevention is the best form of protection.

Landlords do not want to regret taking tenants into their BTL, and most of the time tenants and landlords have a positive relationship with their tenants.

We will get to our top tips after this necessity:

Now this article is written assuming you have followed on key step Landlords should take; Tenant referencing, this gives landlords the ability to vet their tenants before accepting them into their property to live for a long-standing period of time, since tenant referencing has become a common practice for landlords and letting agents, the risk of getting a tenant from hell is far more unlikely than it used to be.

REFERENCE CHECK DONE?
You’re setting the wheels off in a positive motion

But reference checks aside, you cannot judge a book by its cover. A tenant who looks good on paper still has the potential of morphing into a nightmare over time. However, there are a number of precautionary and highly beneficial steps landlords can put in place prevent tenants causing damage to their property.

5 STEPS TO PREVENTING TENANTS FROM DAMAGING YOUR PROPERTY

Professional Clean
PROFESSIONAL CLEANING

A full professional deep clean of the entire property before your tenant(s) move into the property is a highly beneficial process to both parties. And when we say entire property, we mean it: Ovens, white goods, sanitary ware, cupboards, walls, carpets, floors, ceilings, furnishings.

By ensuring the above you set up the tenancy with the following:
A) The tenant(s) have an immaculately clean property to settle into. Making their transition into your property more welcoming and positive.
B) The Landlord can be confident that the tenant should have no cleanliness issues or complaints from the start of a tenancy
C) The Tenant(s) have an opportunity to see the property standing in a fresh and ready state, meaning, tenants will be very aware of how the property should be left, and that any new damage will stand out
D) The property is expected to be returned to its original condition as when the tenant(s) moved into the property. By having the property professionally cleaned at the start of the tenancy, an equivalent clean will have to go underway at the end of the tenancy. You can even have this in your tenancy agreement.

Communicate Clearly
COMMUNICATE CLEARLY WITH YOUR TENANT(S)

As the masterful Tony Robbins states, “The Quality of your life is the quality of your communication” Of which, we feel this statement applies very well to ensuring quality communication with your tenants. By clearly and positively communicating with your tenant(s) you will be setting up the tone for the rest of the tenancy. You want your tenant(s) to feel that they can contact you openly about any issues they may have, without a fear of being penalised or threatened with eviction.

By ensuring the above you set up the tenancy with the following:
A) You can be confident that your tenants will be open with you, rather than try to hide problems from you until the very end of the tenancy



Handshake Image
ESTABLISH UNDERSTANDING WITH YOUR TENANT(S)

Following on, directly influenced by the above point, establishing an understanding with your tenant(s) is paramount. When we refer to establishing understanding, areas such as tenant(s) responsibilities and important information about the tenancy come under this umbrella. By establishing a clear understanding of tenant responsibilities you can be confident your tenant(s) are prepared for the tenancy. Otherwise, how can you expect your tenant(s) to know how to go about your property if they have not been informed?

By ensuring the above you set up the tenancy with the following:
A) Your tenant(s) are in the know about your property and it’s ins and outs
B) Eliminates excuses for being unaware, if your tenant(s) know what should be done where and when then it’s easier to place liability if they do not do so.

Positive Relationships
RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

Managing your relationship doesn’t have to be a laborious task. In fact, by following the above points, you are setting yourself up for a positive tenant-landlord relationship. Ensure a positive relationship with your tenant(s) by being friendly and happy to be on hand or to help. Perhaps provide a small welcome package of simple toiletries and useful items to get them settle in. A tenant is more likely to treat your property with respect if they respect you. After All, you gotta give respect to gain respect, honey.

By ensuring the above you set up the tenancy with the following:
A) Depending on the type of tenancies you are looking for, communicating well with tenants can lead to longer more permanent tenancies through developing the tenant-landlord relationship. Minimising void periods.
B) Tenants will be far more likely to treat your property with more care throughout the tenancy
C) Word of mouth can still be a big influencer when it comes to making a key decision when choosing a rental property.

Regular Property Inspections
REGULAR PROPERTY INSPECTIONS

Last, but quite possibly one of the most effective ways to prevent tenants from damaging your property comes from having regular inspections during the tenancy. We highly recommend that a property is never let out without a full Inventory Report and supporting Check In and Check Out report. Furthermore, to intensify the effectiveness of these reports, scheduling regular property visits will prevent and discourage your tenant(s) from being disrespectful towards your property.

Landlords need to read this, you could be missing a trick! 

By ensuring the above you set up the tenancy with the following:
A) Tenants will be aware that the properties condition is documented, therefore knowing that any damage or issued caused by them they will be liable for
B) Regular property visits discourage tenants from being disrespectful to your property.
C) The act of illegal subletting will be far harder for tenants to hide from you
D) Arising or urgent issues with the property will be brought to your attention. Meaning, you can take swift action before the issue worsens.
E) Clarity, by having regular inspections, all parties can be confident that the property has been documented as thoroughly as possible. Combining your Inventory, Check In and Check out with regular interim property visits enables you and your tenants to have a clear snapshot of the properties condition throughout the whole tenancy. So, if a dispute situation does arise at the end of the tenancy, it is clearer and simpler for an adjudicator to place correct liability

Rest Easy

We believe that the preparation is key. And when it comes to protecting the condition of your property, the above steps will be paramount to a smooth tenancy period.

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