When you find a tenant and hand over the front door keys to your property, how do you know they’ll take good care of your property? Well, don’t leave it to chance, follow our tips below to make sure that they do.
Choose the Right Tenants
Make sure that as part of the vetting process you contact your prospective tenant’s previous landlord and ask them if the tenants looked after their property and if they’d let to them again.
Provide a Professional Inventory and Check In Report
A professional inventory combined with a check in report will detail the contents and the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy. You don’t have to provide an inventory and check in report but if you do the tenant will know that you expect the property to be left in the same condition at the end of their stay.
Supply Cleaning Instructions
If you have any items that require careful cleaning, such as an induction hob that mustn’t be scrubbed with abrasive substances or a polished wood floor that can’t be washed, let the tenant know. Write down cleaning instructions, preferably on a laminated document so you only have to do it once.
Remove all Valuables and Personal Items
If you’ve got some Ming vases and Chippendale pieces lying around, take them out. In fact, take out anything of financial or sentimental value. If necessary, replace them with cheaper alternatives.
Take a Large Deposit
I’d suggest you ask tenants for the equivalent of six weeks’ rent and make it clear that you might use this to cover the cost of any damage or missing items at the end of the tenancy. You should also have a clause in the tenancy agreement that states tenants are responsible for damage or theft by guests they’ve invited into your property.
Carry Out Regular Inspections
Visit your property once in the first three months to make sure the tenant is taking care of the place, then return every three to six months to check there are no maintenance issues they’ve overlooked or haven’t bothered to tell you about.
Make the Tenant Responsible
It’s standard practice to include a clause in the tenancy agreement that makes it clear that if the tenant doesn’t alert you to any maintenance issues as soon as possible, they could be held responsible for any further damage that occurs as a result.
Carry out Repairs Promptly
If you carry out repairs as fast as possible, you’ll be sending a clear message to the tenant that you care about your property and you want to keep it looking nice and, hopefully, they’ll react the same way. On the other hand, if you don’t, they’ll think you don’t care and they might not bother to let you know of any other maintenance issues, which might then get worse.
Keep it Simple
Don’t make it hard to tenants to look after your property by filling it with fancy but flimsy items. Choose robust appliances that can stand up to heavy usage and think carefully about the décor and furnishings. Avoid things like laminate floors in bathrooms and wooden worktops in kitchens, which might warp when wet, and always resist the temptation to go for style over substance.
Befriend the Neighbours
Get to know your neighbours and they can be your eyes and ears when you’re not around. Give them your phone number and ask them to let you know if the tenants cause any problems, such as holding frequent riotous parties or leaving rubbish in the garden. Most neighbours won’t mind keeping a look out, in fact, they’ll be relieved you’re keen to clamp down on any anti-social behaviour.
And just in case ….take out adequate landlord insurance. Even the best behaved tenants might have an accident, so make sure you’re covered.