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Ways to Prevent Tenants from Damaging Property

Perhaps one of the more challenging aspects of owning single-family rental properties is dealing with property damage. Sometimes tenants can be very hard on a rental house through negligence, resulting in more maintenance and expensive repairs. But there are other ways that a tenant could potentially damage a rental house, sometimes without even knowing it. Whether the tenant wants to make changes to the property without permission, attempts to fix broken items themselves, or ignores small problems, rental property damage sometimes seems inevitable. But it doesn’t need to be. There are actually several ways that property owners can help prevent rental property damage and reduce the costs of upkeep and repairs at the same time.Hand holding paintbrush with blue paint dripping all over.

Tenant “Improvements”

It is well-established that people who make the best tenants are usually also people who care a lot about the look and function of their rental home. However, when a tenant cares a little too much or tries to take matters into their own hands, things can quickly decline. Some tenants want to customize their rental home by remodeling one or more rooms in the house. If the tenant does not have the right knowledge and experience, those “improvements” could create a big, expensive mess. In other cases, a tenant may attempt to quell a small problem on their own, thinking that it is not important enough to trouble the landlord with. Of course, small leaks and other issues can quickly become big problems if they are not correctly or quickly repaired.

Other issues may arise from tenants misusing your rental property or appliances. In some situations, the tenant may unknowingly damage the property’s appliances or surfaces by using or cleaning them incorrectly. Whether they are aware of it or not, tenants can cause major damage to the property this way, or allow others to do so. Some tenants may use a house they have rented in an illegal subletting scheme, which generally results in the property owner usually gets stuck with costly repair bills.


When it comes to tenant damage, prevention is key. There are many things that property owners can do to reduce or eliminate certain types of property damage. For example, providing tenants with a convenient way to report small maintenance and repair items – and handling those reports in a quick and professional manner – can encourage them to report minor issues before they transform into big ones. Catching these small problems right away can no doubt help you avoid big repair bills later on.

Educate Tenants

Another way that you can prevent rental property damage is to educate new tenants on the proper use and care of the property’s surfaces and appliances. Some renters simply do not know how to use appliances correctly, or may not realize that how they’re actions wear the appliances out faster than necessary. They may also not know that harsh cleaners and other substances can permanently damage countertops, floors, and other surfaces. In these cases, some friendly advice about proper care and maintenance can help to protect and extend the life of your property’s appliances and surfaces.Man filling out tenant application at desk with woman on other side.

Tenant Screening

Lastly, to keep your property safe from scammers and tenants who want to sublet it, it is vital to have a comprehensive tenant screening process in place. Property owners must also ensure that their rental house is inspected on a regular basis and check for illegal listings on sites like Airbnb. Property owners should also make it clear in their lease agreement that they prohibit short-term subletting of the property, and will take immediate action if such activities are discovered.

Reducing property damage helps increase your investment’s profitability and longevity. Being a successful single-family rental homeowner requires thinking about the long-term consequences of any situation. By taking simple precautions, rental property owners can greatly reduce the amount of property damage caused by their tenants and protect their property values year after year. For more information about how the right property management company can help you reduce tenant damage, contact your Real Property Management Champion today.

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