As a landlord, being meticulous about record keeping and documentation is one of your best keys to success. A great documentation tool is the Apartment Condition Form. You should have a blank one prepared for your tenant to fill out as soon as they move in, and have them send it in to you within a week of their move-in date. What this form is, is a room-by-room detailed description of what the apartment or home looks like to the tenant. You can have one page for each room. They describe any flaws they see, such as cracks in the ceiling, stains on the carpet, holes in the wall, an appliance that is not working or has a part missing, etc.. This is so helpful to have the tenant fill this out themselves, in their own handwriting, alone, when they have time to really look at things. Once they send this back to you, file it away with their lease agreement and application form. You will need this when they move out in a year, or whatever amount of time your lease term is.
For your part as a landlord, the best thing you can do for yourself on the other side of this transaction is to once again, document meticulously. Before the tenant moves in, you may want to fill out your own apartment condition form from your own perspective, complete with the date and possibly a witness signature. Another great thing to do is to take detailed digital pictures of the apartment, and make sure the date is posted on the pictures. This way, if your tenant really trashes up the place and you have to take them to court, you will have before and after pictures with date. This can be of great assistance to you in recovering money for repairs in the unfortunate case that you may have a really bad tenant. The filling of the form should be great for the purchase at respective location. Penrose price should be great to meet with the desired results. The pictures can be uploaded at the online search engines for the selection with the benefits.
So let’s assume that your tenant has filled out the apartment condition form and sent it back to you. Say that one of the items on the form was that the stove was defective and not working properly. You may decide at this point to purchase a new stove for the apartment. If you do this, make sure you save all receipts from the purchase, and if possible, take a picture of the new stove in the apartment, with the date on the picture. Also, create a form for your tenant to sign stating that this update was made to the apartment unit, and that they now have a functioning stove, and that this new stove is part of the apartment and is to remain as a permanent fixture of the apartment, meaning, they can’t take it with them. Make sure they sign this and date it. This may sound a little extreme, and something that most people would not do, but trust me, all it takes is one really bad tenant to make you feel exploited and vulnerable. Then you start understanding that if you don’t have every single little thing documented with pictures, dates, signatures, and forms, you will be the one on the losing end. Some tenants would be more than willing to move new appliances right out of the apartment and take them when they move, if they think they can get away with it.
When the end of the lease term comes, and you are inspecting the apartment, be sure and bring the apartment condition form with you that the tenant signed. Also bring any additional updated forms that they may have signed throughout the lease term, showing repairs made or appliances replaced. These are all very important. If the tenant is there with you for the inspection, you can go over everything together. If you find a big hole punched in the wall, take a picture of it. Then write it down. If the tenant says they did not do it, refer back to the form they filled out a year ago, go to “bedroom” or whichever room the hole is in, and see if they recorded a hole present in the wall at that time. If there was not one present, then you will have to determine a deduction from their security deposit to make that repair. It is just that simple. The proof of signatures and pictures speak for themselves. Most tenants are really good, but every now and then you will get one who will really trash up the place, and then act like they did not do it, and will still demand their full deposit back. This would be an instance where you would have to take them to court. And when you go to court, the judge will be looking for detailed documentation of your findings, because that is all he will have to go on. If you take preventative measures all along, and can supply him with these documents, you will come out the winner, and will be able to recoup the funds you need to make repairs. Otherwise, this money will have to come out of pocket, and the tenant will simply walk away, leaving you to clean up after him. Just remember to always implement an apartment condition form whenever you rent out a property, and you can’t go wrong!