Damage to your LA county rental property is likely to occur because of a tenant’s abuse or neglect, a vacancy that led to vandalism or criminal activity, or a natural disaster or catastrophe that was unanticipated.
We recommend a solid insurance policy for both you and your residents. You’ll also need good tenant screening practices and a commitment to preventive and routine maintenance. Minimize vacancy periods when you can.
Here’s what we do as professional Los Angeles property managers when we’re protecting your investment against potential damage.
Avoiding Damage Caused by Tenants
A well-qualified tenant rarely damages your home, but if you place a tenant who has not been screened properly, you’re risking the potential for tenant damage. Here are some of the ways to prevent it.
- Good screening
A good screening process that’s consistent and rigorous will allow you to check for past evictions. You can also conduct rental references, asking former landlords if any damage was left behind. Find out whether tenants received their full security deposit back or if their pets caused any problems in the home or the yard. In the credit report, look for outstanding judgments or money owed to landlords or apartment communities.
- Detailed move-in inspections
A move-in inspection allows you to document the condition of the property before a tenant moves in. Take a lot of pictures and use a checklist that allows you to make notes. You’ll use this same inspection report after a tenant moves out to determine whether the security deposit can be used to pay for damage.
- Maintenance accountability
In a good lease agreement, tenants should be required to report maintenance needs immediately. This will reduce the risk of deferred and unreported maintenance. Emphasize the importance of taking care of the rental unit to your tenants and make sure you’re collecting a security deposit that can cover potential damages.
Protect Yourself and Your Property with Insurance
Invest in a good landlord policy that provides protection against property damage and liability. If your Los Angeles rental home because damaged due to a covered event, such as a water leak or wind storm that sends a tree through a window, you’ll be able to file a claim and have the repairs and replacements covered.
It’s also important to require renters insurance from your tenants. A good policy is not expensive, and it protects their personal property, which your landlord insurance does not cover. It also protects you and them against any damage that’s a result of their own negligence. Leaving a pan on the stove, for example, can result in a kitchen fire. Repairs would be covered by the tenant’s insurance rather than your own.
Limit Vacancy and Turnover Periods
Vacant homes are an easy target for vandals, thieves, and other opportunists. You’ll need to protect that property against potential intrusion. Install additional lighting outside of the property and consider a small video camera that captures images of anyone coming and going. Alarm systems can also deter criminals. Check on the property while it’s vacant, and make sure you keep the utilities on so the home can remain well-lit.
Protecting your investment property is one of the things we do best as LA county property managers. If you’d like to hear more about how we can reduce the risk of damage, please contact us at Bell Properties.