When a new Tenant signs a lease for one of my rental properties I ALWAYS supply them with a copy of my damages and move-out charges at the time of their lease signing. I let them know upfront what is expected of them in terms of maintenance and also in terms of their deposit that will be held in escrow.
Some Landlords never meet their client other then at the time to sign the lease or to turn over the keys. It is important from the very beginning to train your tenants on how best to take care of your property. Here are two Landlording tips that you can implement right away and it will save you headaches and money in the future:
Tenant Tip #1: Maintenance and Damages Charges
I let all my tenants know that I am 100% responsible for the heating, cooling, and major appliances (except Refrigerator, Washer/Dryer & Dishwasher). They are responsible for the first $25-100 in repair charges for the appliances listed in the above exceptions. I also include in my lease addendum if they break a window, get locked out, lose a garage remote or if an item needed to be repaired more than two times due to their gross negligence – they will responsible for the first $25-100.
During my property walk-through I take pictures and video during that time in front of the tenant and attach it to our Leasing file under the property and tenants lease. Every 18m – 2yrs I always update the property photos of a long term tenant when I perform a property inspection for Section 8 or insurance.
If you do not train your tenants on how to treat your property and make them also have some skin in the game your profits can get eaten up by repairs.
Tenant Tip #2: Move Out Charges & Deposit
It is best to be clear how much the rental deposit is at the time of the lease signing. Landlords should also verbally and in writing communicate what the deposit is actually for and/or covers. Some Tenants will skip out of the last month rental payment thinking their deposit will cover it and they will not owe you anything. Wrong!
Move Out Charges: Here is an example of what you could include as an addendum to your Lease. This document is credited to Cynthia and Gary Schmidt, Landlords for over 20 years, and the owners of “Collect Back Rent”.