Whether you’re a landlord or a property manager, there is the unfortunate reality that at some point, you will have to deal with damage caused by a resident in one of your properties. While it is impossible to eliminate the risk of damage entirely, you can reduce the likelihood by following these simple tips.

Show Residents What You Expect The Unit To Look Like
Never show a property to a prospective resident if it is not in prime condition. You want to set an example and show them what you expect the property to look like while they’re living there (if possible), and after they move out. Not only does showing a well-kept property set the right example, it also attracts a higher caliber of resident to rent it.

Don’t Use The Security Deposit As A Threat
If you use the security deposit to threaten a resident during their lease when damage has occurred, they are not going to take steps to improve their behavior or treatment of the property. After all, why try when it seems like the deposit is lost anyways? Instead, try and motivate them positively to do better!

Show The Resident What Their Responsibilities Are
This means show, and don’t just tell! Walk a resident through the property after signing the lease and show them which aspects of the home they are responsible for maintaining. For example, the yard, changing a furnace filter, etc. Demonstrate to them how these things are done (at least briefly, you don’t have to do the whole job) so they know exactly what to do to keep the property the way you want them to.

Of course, in addition to all of the above, you want to focus on carefully screening all prospective residents. But additional diligence can only be of benefit to you and your property.