Owning a rental property is a long-term investment. If you want to maximize your investment over time, then you’ve come to the right place.
Attending to maintenance and repair issues or refurbishing your rental property while you have sitting tenants can be both annoying and expensive for everyone involved.
While you might be able to claim on insurance, if your rental becomes inhabitable for some time, you could be liable for finding your tenant alternative accommodation or for any damaged items.
If you are interested in getting the most out of your rental property with the least amount of hassle, here’s how you can ease the process between tenants.
It is ideal to hold a move-out inspection with your sitting tenants.
Give ample notice of the time and date, and always have correspondence in writing, even if it is a follow-up to a discussion held on the phone.
If your tenants have been acrimonious, be sure to document every step. Take pictures of each item on your checklist and refer these to the same images you should have taken before these tenants moved in. We also recommend that you use a date-stamp application for your reference.
During the move-out inspection, you can go through a checklist and note any damage. We recommend that you have another person with you as a witness.
- Ensure the tenant has removed all personal belongings
- Ensure the property is cleaned as per the lease agreement
- Get all keys and duplicates from the tenant
- Agree on any damages which are beyond normal wear and tear and decide who will pay
- Obtain proof from the tenants that they have paid and discontinued all utility accounts
- Hand back the security deposit
- Sign documentation that both parties agree to the above list
Getting a rental estimate between tenants and before you advertise is always a good move. The small investment puts you in good standing to potentially make significantly more income. Any good business person keeps an eye on the competition, and getting a rent report works in the same way.
You will get a recommended rent estimate based on the geographical location, square footage, and property features.
It will also tell you vacancy levels so that you can use this data to adjust your rent prices. For example, if your rental property has three bedrooms and there are none currently on the market, you may be able to charge a premium or be choosier with the requirements for incoming tenants.
Repairs and Maintenance
There are standard repairs and maintenance that should be tackled between every tenant. These include:
- Replacing burned out lightbulbs
- Inspecting the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and changing batteries
- Fix any items which were broken or included in the damage report
- Check all appliances are in working order
- Replace air filters
While it is possible to check for leaks visually, water damage, and mold, hiring a professional plumber or inspector may be worthwhile. Minor issues can quickly lead to expensive disasters where water is concerned.
If you get a rent estimate and find that vacancy levels are extremely low in your area, you may feel comfortable to spend a few weeks concentrating on repairs and maintenance.
In low vacancy areas, tenants might jump at your property, even if it means paying a half month additional rent, which gives you time to do more extended repairs and maintenance, including:
- Patching and painting walls
- Cleaning and replacing carpets
- Updating tile or linoleum
- Replacing or spraying kitchen and bathroom cupboards
- Adding a patio or deck
- Updating appliances
Small renovations to your property can maximize your rental income and encourage tenants to stay put for longer. It can also differentiate your rental property from the competition. Remember that repairs are also tax-deductible, so consider having a word with your accountant before starting the process.
Cleaning between tenants is a must. Ideally, you would have your property thoroughly cleaned before taking advertising pictures or showing it to potential renters. This may not always be feasible, but we do certainly recommend that the following tasks are completed:
- Clean all appliances
- Clean behind all appliances
- Clean the windows
- Vacuum all floors
- Shampoo carpets
- Wipe down all walls
- Thoroughly clean all bathroom and kitchen cupboards
- Clean baseboards, trim, and molding
- Empty all trash receptacles and disinfect
Many professional cleaning companies often offer a deep cleaning service. It can be included in your lease agreements that the landlord pays for the services of a particular company before moving in. The same company can be used and paid for by the tenant upon moving out.
As a landlord, you know that getting top rental prices is only one way that your investment can make you money. Over the long-term, the property will hopefully also significantly appreciate. While it might be tempting to scrimp on maintenance to save some money right now, this will inevitably cost you down the road.
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