If you are a landlord or property owner you will no doubt face many challenges when it comes to letting your property or properties. From finding the right tenants (or letting agency) to dealing with tenants queries and a multitude of other issues your time is often at a premium.
Here are some tips for landlords along with some answers that many property owners ask on a regular basis about how best you can make sure your properties are protected.
What can I do to protect my property?
Insurance is available so that in the event of a loss (by an insured event) you will be protected and covered.
In order to reduce the chances of a loss you can however take certain steps to help. These include:
1. Make your property more secure by installing deadlocks on doors and locks on the windows.
2. Install an alarm system. Many insurers will offer a lower premium because you have lowered the risk of loss through theft. For certain postal areas a minimum level of security will be required.
3. Remove potential fire hazards from around the outside of the house as well as inside, particularly around the kitchen.
4. Make sure you have working smoke detectors and a suitable fire extinguisher. Put the extinguisher somewhere handy and make sure members of your household know how to use it.
What should I insure my contents for?
As a landlord, it is quite possible that the property that you are letting contains contents that you own. It is important to note these contents and ensure that you have provided adequate cover for them in your insurance policy. It might be worth doing a room by room inventory and working exactly what level of cover you require. Again though if you are in any doubt, just ask.
How can landlords minimize financial losses related to repairs and maintenance?
You can avoid many problems by maintaining the property in excellent condition. Here’s how:
1. Use a written checklist to inspect the premises and fix any problems before new tenants move in.
2. Encourage tenants to immediately report safety or security problems such as plumbing, heating, broken doors or steps; whether in the tenants unit or in common areas such as hallways and garages.
3. Keep a written log of all tenant complaints and repair requests with details as to how and when problems were fixed.
4. Handle urgent repairs as soon as possible and take care of any safety issues within 24 hours. Keep tenants informed as to when and how the repairs will be made.
5. Twice a year, give tenants a checklist on which to report potential safety hazards or maintenance problems that might have been overlooked.
Use the same checklist to personally inspect all rental units once a year.
Also, your commitment to repair and maintenance procedures should be clearly set out in the lease or rental agreement.
Owning a property or a portfolio of properties can be very rewarding so follow these simple tips and make sure you and your properties are protected at all times.