Rental property is an effective way to make extra money, and more people are renting out spaces for cash thanks to platforms like Airbnb. However, renting a property or space also comes with the risk of damage. While some damages can be charged to the tenant, many landlords are unprepared for dealing with normal wear and tear. Remember, the landlord owns the property. It’s your responsibility to prevent and fix problems. Whether you’re managing an apartment building or renting out your guest room on the weekends, here are four ways to plan ahead.
1. Skip the Carpet
Carpet is one of the worst flooring materials you can use in a rental. Not only does it show rips, tears and stains, but it can also harbor pests and allergens. Ditch that dated carpet and replace it with a durable modern flooring option like laminate, tile or vinyl. These floors will look great for many years with only a thorough cleaning between tenants. You’ll want some warm textures in some areas of your rental space though, especially if it is in a basement.
2. Expand Your Driveway
If you are planning to expand or rent out to more tenants, space can quickly become an issue. Prevent this problem before it starts by contracting a concrete company to install a spacious paved driveway. This relatively small upfront cost can save you thousands of dollars in landscaping costs over the years, and it’s also a nice attraction for prospective tenants. Making your parking rules clear and concise so that your tenants won’t break them. They will appreciate the clarity.
3. Keep Up with Maintenance
If you expect your tenants to take care of regular maintenance, you’re probably wrong. Most landlord-tenant laws require the landlord to upkeep the property, so be prepared to make regular visits to change air filters, check smoke detectors and water heater valves, clean gutters and control pests. Don’t forget to inform your tenants at least 24 hours in advance when you plan to enter the property for maintenance, repairs or inspections. Give your tenants a number to reach you and respond to them as quickly as possible. It might be your property, but they are living in it. If you are respectful of your tenants’ time and needs, they will not only appreciate it, but they will be more likely to stay your tenants and/or leave you a positive review.
4. Check Your Expectations
New landlords often make the mistake of expecting a property to be returned to them in the same condition. However, living in a space for weeks, months or years will result in wear and tear even with the most conscientious tenants. Be prepared for your property to need paint touched up, floors repaired and door hinges replaced. Normal wear and tear costs should not be charged to the tenant or subtracted from their security deposit. If you owned the building for any other purpose, you would maintain it. Just because other people are actively using it doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility.
Keep in mind that laws governing the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants vary by city, state and country. It’s important to check your local rules and regulations before you hand over the keys to make sure you don’t end up with legal woes. If you plan ahead, both in legal and practical matters, you’ll be able to navigate maintaining your property with relative ease. Respect your tenants’ resources and time, give them the resources they need, and respond to their call when you need to repair something. Some preparation and the proper expectations will go a long way to making your property a successful business.