Resident damage is one of the biggest causes of negative cash flow for property owners. When you rent out your property, make sure you get a sufficient security deposit to cover any potential damage. It is also important to document the condition of the property so you can prove the damage that the residents may have causes. We advocate the following steps:

Conduct an initial inspection. You need to do a good, thorough inspection of the property before the resident moves in. It’s a good idea to videotape the entire walk through. This will An image of magnifying glassgive you a top to bottom look at how the place looks. You can also check for chips, stains and other damage that might be argued at the end of a lease term. Having this documentation can keep you out of court, and if you do end up in front of a judge, you’ll be in a much better position when you have the evidence you need. Judges like to have proof. They don’t want to hear endless stories; they just want evidentiary proof.

Conduct periodic inspections. During the course of a lease, you should check on the property regularly to look for lease violations and ensure that the resident is taking good care of the property. It’s also a good opportunity to look around for unreported maintenance issues that need attention.

Background check. Do a credit check to ensure your resident is the kind of person who pays bills on time. Do a criminal check to make sure you aren’t renting to lawbreakers, and check eviction records statewide. You don’t want to offer a lease to someone who has been evicted from prior residences.

Property condition guarantee. Find out if your property manager is willing to give you a property condition guarantee. This is something we offer the landlords we work with at Sarasota Management and Leasing. We put in writing that we are so confident in our process; from the initial inspection to the documentation, that we are willing to put our money where our mouths are. If a resident moves out and leaves damage to your property in excess of what the security deposit covers, we will pay the difference up to $1,000. This demonstrates our belief that everything we do when managing property ensures that your resident damage will be kept to a minimum.

If you have any questions, or you’d like to talk about this matter further, please contact us at Sarasota Management and Leasing.