When you invest your hard-earned money into real estate, you’ll want to make sure you protect that investment. Part of that process is educating yourself on what could eat into your profits. One of the most significant profit-eaters is rental property damage. There’s good news here. Some property damage is entirely preventable. For the damage that is out of your control, there are ways to mitigate the cost. Let’s dive into what causes damage and how to protect your rental investment.
Causes of Damage
There are three main categories of property damage. Each category has different attributes that change how you should respond to the situation.
Damage Caused by Tenants
You would think that damage caused by tenants would be the top cause of property damage. While they are the ones spending the most time in the unit, most tenants want to feel like they live in a home and they aren’t trying to devalue it by punching holes in the wall. However, accidents do happen, and damage is damage, whether accidental or not.
Damaged Caused By a Third Party
Although it is rare, it is possible that your property is damaged by a third party, including strangers and people you thought you could trust. One example is damage caused by a burglar trying to break into the home; this damage is usually exterior as long as they don’t make it too far into the house. Another example of third-party damage is a handyperson causing damage through faulty repairs or an accident.
Damage Caused By Nature
Damaged caused by nature can be broken down further into natural disasters like storms and animal damage like termites. The most common cause of property damage overall is wind, but hail, flooding, and fire are all close seconds.
How to Protect Your Property
There are many ways to protect your property from damage; these are just a few ideas to get you started.
Insurance isn’t going to prevent damage from occurring, but the right insurance will give you peace of mind that your repairs are covered.
Surveillance is tricky for landlords because you can’t just spy on your tenants, but sometimes surveillance is okay. For instance, cameras outside the house will hopefully prevent break-ins. Work with your tenants to find the best compromise for this solution.
Respond Before it Gets Worse
Prevent a small problem from growing out of proportion by dealing with it immediately. Here are a few examples:
- Kill mold before it can spread
- Fumigate if pests are found
- Fix minor leaks before they can create permanent water damage
Ensure That Safety Equipment is Accessible
A lot of property damage can be prevented if your tenants have the right equipment at their disposal. For instance, every property should have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen to put out cooking fires. Sump pumps, smoke detectors, and GFCI outlets are other examples of equipment houses may need to prevent or reduce the amount of damage that can happen.
Route Water Away from the House
Water damage can be devastating. It can also, unfortunately, go undetected for a long time and continue to cause damage.
Your property should have multiple ways to route water away from the house. The last thing you want is a sinkhole eating up your property because water has been draining into the foundation for years.
Regular Inspection and Maintenance
It cannot be stressed enough that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure when it comes to property management. Part of being a property owner is ensuring that your investment is in good shape, which means that you should regularly inspect it for damage or potential problems that will cause damage. Regular maintenance such as cleaning the gutters and winterizing the property before it gets too cold are also easy ways to prevent damage.
Make Sure You Have the Right Tenants
You may not be able to prevent a hail storm, but you can know that you have trusted tenants. Our tenant screening service will help you make an informed decision when choosing your tenants. Once you have the right tenants, give yourself even more protection by requiring renters insurance to cover the cost of any damages or stolen property.
Not all damage is preventable, but having a plan and responding quickly is the next best solution when damage occurs.