When you make an investment in a rental property you're going to want to protect it from any possible damage. While tenants that are neglectful or even destructive can cause quite a bit of trouble, they're not the only dangers to your property.
Natural disasters are, at times, unavoidable. You can't pick up your house and move it under a safer shelter when a hail storm hits like you can a car, but you can be ready to handle any repairs that need to be made through the insurance that you take out on the property. It's a good practice to know what type of natural disasters are more prevalent in the area that you've invested in. If your property is in Tornado Alley there's a chance that high winds may cause damage. If you've bought a property in a flood zone, check out the insurances and make sure flooding is covered. While the right insurance policy may not be able to stop the damage, it can help ease the cost of repairs that will need to be made after the damage is done.
Neglect by a tenant can cause damage to your property as well. This can come in many different ways. Hoarders may pile trash and belongings in every nook and cranny of the property, littering the yard and common areas alike. Not only is this unsightly for the neighborhood, but you may get fined by the city. Neglect of a yard or cleaning indoors may cause lasting damage to the property as well. Make sure that the tenant is aware that they will need to keep the property need and tidy and ask them to alert you even if there's a small repair to be made (such as a faucet that drips in the kitchen) so that it doesn't spiral into a much larger, much more expensive problem that becomes a headache for you both.
Finally, you'll want to protect your property from break-ins and theft. Long-term vacancies open a property up to a greater potential of theft if it's obvious that the home remains vacant. A few tips on how to protect a vacant property will be to install motion-sensor lights, keep blinds and curtains closed so that a passerbyer can't see that the home is empty, and get to know the neighbors. If anything is amiss, they'll be the first to see and if they're reliable, you should speak to them and provide your contact information so that they can let you know if they see anything questionable.
If the property is rented you should have your tenants take out renter's insurance to cover their valuables in case there is a break in. Remind them that they should always keep doors and windows locked and to let you know if anything does happen. You want your tenants to feel safe and secure in their homes that they're renting from you. It is a good practice to change the locks on the doors between tenants so that no one but you and the tenant have access to the property. Working with the tenant to help them feel safe will also help you protect your property.
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