As much as you want to leave your Vancouver, WA rental properties pristine, tenant damages are to be expected. Some damages can be caused by tenant negligence such as torn curtains, untrimmed lawn grass, and broken appliances. Others can just be the result of normal wear and tear such as small scuff marks on furniture.

As a landlord, you want to protect your investment and uphold its value. So, here are some tips to help you diminish the likelihood of tenant damage to your Vancouver WA rental property.

1. Evaluate the rental history of applicants.

A thorough rental history check of a prospective tenant is a quick giveaway to how they'll treat a rented property. Contact the previous landlord and ask questions in terms of property damages. If you discover that the prospect kept leaving previous rentals due to damages, then you should consider not renting to them.

It's also advisable to know how the damage was resolved, and consider the following questions:

  • Who shouldered the expenses?
  • Did the prospect move out because of the damage that occurred in the previous rental unit?
  • When was the damage discovered? Was it upon move out? Did the landlord discover the damage on his own?

An irresponsible tenant is not someone you want to occupy your Vancouver rental home. Instead of raising the value and making your unit more attractive, these types of renters' actions will lead to depreciation. That's why screening your tenant's rental history is essential. You don't want to be left dealing with high expenses and replacing a ton of things in your property. So, take time to research your prospects and arrive at a good decision.

tenant screening process

2. Implement regular property inspections.

Although adding more responsibilities to maintaining your Vancouver rental space sounds tedious, conducting periodic property inspections allows you to be aware of the damages first-hand. Prevention is better than cure!

In this case, checking the property for signs of damage will help you save a ton of money.

It would even be good practice to have a property inspection list. This way, you can just check off everything and avoid forgetting essential items. One of the basic things you want to make sure of is the safety and cleanliness of your unit. You can assess the smoke detectors, air filters and the roof for damages. You can also inspect for any water damage or for signs of pest infestation.

When red flags are raised, you should immediately resolve the problem. Otherwise, you'll be dealing with widespread and more expensive dilemmas in the future.

3. Establish conditions in the leasing agreement.

The lease establishes the tenant's responsibilities. So, in the lease, ensure you have terms related to property damage. It will serve you well to be judicious and stipulate conditions that discourage damage to your Vancouver rental property. For instance, you may want to consider not allowing smoking in the property as there are many damages that can occur from this act.

signing a lease agreement

You should also state, in the lease, that tenants must report when a repair or maintenance task is needed. No matter how miniscule the damage, it's important that it's brought to your attention. Dealing with minor repairs is cheaper and more manageable than waiting until the minor problem becomes major.

4. Avoid being relaxed about inspections with long-term tenants.

Having long-term tenants doesn't mean that they're exempt from the periodic inspections. In fact, it's even more advisable to double-check your rental property with them. The reason is because long-term tenants tend to have a more relaxed attitude in terms of reporting for minor repairs.

Even if your tenants are loyal and keep renewing their leases, you must still be vigilant. You want to be consistent with your property inspections.

As a responsible landlord, you want to ensure that all your properties are well maintained. This is part of your duty to make your property safe and habitable as mandated by the State law.

5. Be selective when it comes to plants.

If you choose to plant trees outside your Vancouver WA property, be sure that it is far from the home's foundation. This is because the roots can continue to grow underneath the home and compromise its foundation. Other trees can invade sewer lines and even cause damage to the driveway and sidewalks. It's best that tenants, especially those who love to garden, are given warnings before they decide to grow trees.

tree in front of home

Other plants can also attract pests and may contribute to additional maintenance.

Here are some plants to avoid:

  • Climbing vines: these can contribute to dampness, and trapped moisture will lead to damage, especially if your property has plenty of wood material.
  • Bamboos: these can grow quickly and can invade the patio area. If left unchecked, you'll be dealing with additional troubles down the line.

6. Aim for quality finishes.

It may be tempting to go the low-end to save on furnishings for your Vancouver property, but if you can spare some cash, it's wise to invest in quality finishes. This is because it reduces your maintenance issues. When your flooring, kitchen countertops and appliances are designed to be durable, there are less complaints to address.

Over time, normal wear and tear will occur in your property. To slow down this occurrence, investing in quality will help. If you buy cheap, you'll either need to keep paying for repairs or keep paying for replacements. So, you're better off investing in quality finishes!

kitchen with quality

So, there you have it – 6 tips to prevent tenant damages. These will help curb tenant damages and protect your investment property's value and appeal. For more information, please contact InterWest Properties.

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