If you’re renting property, you want to keep it in good condition. That way, it will be in tip-top shape for the next renter, and your property will be protected.
Keeping your property in good condition means good choices and maintenance, of course. But it also means protecting it prudently from tenants, to some degree. Your tenants may be great people with every intention of keeping the place clean and well-maintained — then a dinner guest drops a glass of wine on the carpet. Maybe they go green, and the new bicycle hangs from the wall. Perhaps they fling open the door trying to get their armful of groceries through, and the door leaves a dent in the wall.
In short, life happens. You just don’t want it to happen to your apartment, within reason. How do you tenant-proof your property? Here are five ways:
1) Choose Tile for Floors
Save yourself time, aggravation and money by choosing tile floors for the entire rental space. Why? First, seasoned rental owners are very against carpet. It stains, holds odors and simply gets old and tired faster than either tile or laminate. It’s the most likely to show tenant wear-and-tear and the most likely to have to be replaced in a few years.
Laminate is a reasonable choice, but will show marks from, say, a dropped barbell. Tile won’t. Some tile resembles other types of flooring, so that can be a good purchase if you’re afraid tenants will find tile cold. Tile cleans well, too. When you have to clean after a tenant moves, you will praise tile.
2) Place Bike Racks Outside
Especially with student or young renters, placing a covered bike rack in a safe place outside will help you tenant proof your property.
Young people often look for living areas close to school or work, but they might still commute via bike since it’s faster. If there isn’t a rack, renters will take their bicycles indoors. Because bicycles take up space and are a pain to move from place to place, many renters will choose to hang them on walls or even from ceilings.
To hang a bicycle, they will have to drill holes in the wall or ceiling and install hardware that may be difficult to remove. You don’t want that. Make your and their lives easier by giving them a nice, safe, covered spot for their bikes.
3) Install Smart Lighting
Ah, lighting. Install smart lighting that will be activated by the presence of a body, not by a switch. If you have a newer building or are building on a property, it might be possible to not have light switches at all. Switches are sites where fingerprints often go. As a result, they are often grimy and dirty far ahead of the rest of the wall. Eliminate having to paint or clean by eliminating the necessity for fingerprints.
The other beauty of smart lighting, of course, is that it saves on electricity and it saves on costs. Tenants are notorious for leaving lights on by accident. Smart lighting can save whoever is paying the utility bills money. If it’s you, you’ve tenant-proofed! If it’s them, advertise the savings of smart lighting as part of the amenities.
4) Use a Shower Screen, Not a Shower Curtain
Shower screens may be more expensive to install initially, but they will pay for themselves in ease of cleaning and durability. Shower curtains are repositories of mold, bacteria and dirt, no matter how clean your tenants are. If the curtains remain wet, and most do, bad things will happen. Plus, the method of cleaning is to place them in a washing machine. If your tenants have to go to a basement or other common area to wash them, they likely just won’t. End result? You will have one dirty shower curtain to clean at the end of their tenancy. Gross. Shower screens will require cleaning, but they are easily cleaned with sprays.
Shower screens are also much more durable than shower curtains. A tenant can easily pull down a shower curtain and rod. Shower screens are pretty much impervious as long as horses don’t stampede through.
5) Landscape Simply, Without a Pool
It’s not wise to get fancy with the landscape. If you have a number of flowers, for example, tenants may pick them for a bouquet or a loved one. That means your landscaping is at risk of damage, or partially vanishing. Green plants and lawns are fine.
If you are tempted to have a swimming pool as the centerpiece of a property, don’t do it. Swimming pools are a tremendous potential liability. If people fall in, they could drown or be hurt. You can be sued. You will have to hire lifeguards, and you will have to comply with zoning and other government restrictions. Yes, they are nice. They are also a big headache.
With tenant-proofing, prevention is key. If you prevent the opportunity for damage, it won’t occur. That’s the rule to follow, for the safety of both your property and your tenants.
Anum Yoon is a personal finance blogger and writer. She created and maintains her personal finance blog Current on Currency. You can subscribe to her blog newsletter right here for her weekly updates.