Some landlords on rare occasions complain that their tenants don’t look after the property while they are living there.
This leads to the difficult question of how can a landlord motivate a tenant to keep a property in good condition? Or are deposit deductions simply inevitable?
Get started early
When it comes to getting your property back in the condition it should be in, you need to try and encourage the tenant to respect where they are living.
You may have heard this one before, but this is why you need to vet your tenants properly. Meet them before you agree to anything, and get references – if they made a mess of the last place they lived in, you have no reason to think the next one will be any different.
The right documentation
Your tenancy agreement and your inventory are the two documents which determine what condition you can, legally and reasonably, expect to your property to be returned in.
Make sure to include photographs in your inventory – ask the tenants to sign and date them to ensure it’s clear that they represent the state of the property at the start of the tenancy.
These documents are a great basis for claiming damages if your property isn’t left in good condition, but if their value is explained to the tenant at the start of the tenancy it may relieve you of the hassle at the end.
Want to know more? Find out what to include in your Tenancy Agreement or see our guide on compiling an inventory.
Communication is vital
The best thing you can do is talk to your tenant and point out their obligations which are written in the tenancy agreement and why there are photos with a detailed written inventory. Explain the need to return the property in the same condition, except for fair wear and tear in order to avoid any deduction from the deposit.
Want to know more? Find out about judging fair wear and tear.
Getting your tenant on board with maintaining the property isn't a one-and-done conversation. Arranging a mid-tenancy visit is another way you can help to ensure things are kept as set out in the tenancy agreement. However, your tenants have the right to quiet enjoyment of the property, so make sure you give plenty notice for inspections and don't just turn up and expect to be granted access.
You also need to have a good relationship with your tenant and secure their respect – they are far more likely to treat the property well if this is the case.
If there are any repairs during the tenancy that need seeing to, get them done swiftly. Remember to keep calm if the tenant has accidentally caused some minor damage – as long as they are honest with you and willing to work with you to resolve the matter.
The complete package
If you’ve got the right people living in the property, you’ve made sure they understand the documentation and what you expect, and you’ve fostered a good relationship, then you’ve done all the right things to motivate them to keep the property in good condition.