We only care about the things we own, or so the truism goes. It should come as no surprise then that some tenants are better than others when it comes to property upkeep. How can landlords prompt their middle-of-the-road tenants to take better care of the property between the security deposit and the post-inspection fees?

Stay top of mind.

For smaller properties where it’s feasible to do so, there’s something to be said for a landlord making his or her rounds once a month to talk with tenants and gauge their satisfaction. Do they have any complaints? If they have a maintenance request, they might invite you into their home to personally investigate, giving you insight into how the property is being maintained.

Preventative maintenance is central to the health care debate and the same could be applied to properties. If you wait until tenants have an open schedule at work to call you (let alone, remember to call you), a problem has the chance to get worse.

Be willing to offer an incentive.

Work in an inspection contractually at the ninth month into a lease. This offers a few advantages:

  • Valuable face time with the tenant prior to a lease renewal.
  • Insight into how the property has been maintained and what maintenance might be required before a new tenant can move in.
  • The chance to offer the current tenant an incentive to stay another year if they have adequately maintained the property.

Share upgrade expenses.

Express your openness to upgrades if the current tenant is willing to share in the cost and your contract makes it clear who owns what.

Examples include wood flooring, premium appliances and home automation gear, such as the Nest thermostat.

The more a tenant feels involved with the property, the more likely they are to put in the extra effort to maintain it and renew their lease.

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