Sometimes, watching others live in your property is a hard thing. You can’t help wincing at each stain, bang, dent, and chip. Every renter has the right to make a home out of the place they’re renting, and this includes “normal wear and tear.” However, “normal” can mean something different to everyone! The truth is, when something doesn’t belong to us, we’re just not as careful of it, and the odds are good that you’ll have some tenants now and then that don’t care for your property as well as you would.
Regarding the stress you experience over messy tenants, we only have this advice: don’t sweat it! Plan for it.

Some Tips to Minimize Damage

  • Foster good relationships with tenants. A good relationship will make them more likely to take good care of your property.
  • Screen well for tenants that will respect and take care of the property.
  • If you have ideas for things that will minimize damage and wear, foot the bill. Most tenants would be happy to let someone in to re-finish the floors, or allow a monthly maid service if you’re the one paying for it.
  • Hire a professional service to manage the property. They’ll have less stress, emotional attachment, and they’ll know the tricks to clean well between tenants.

Cleaning Between Tenants

There are three things that, at the bare minimum, you should do between tenants. This will ensure that they move in with a blank slate, clear of the smells and marks of previous tenants. It also guards against too much set-in problems:

  1. Hire a professional carpet cleaning service.
  2. Air it out thoroughly. Keep windows and doors open all day while you’re cleaning and working on business there. It’s even better if you can do that a few days in a row. Don’t just plug in a Glade air filter and call it good.
  3. Deep-clean bathroom fixtures and get rid of as much lime and scale buildup as you can.

Remember that there’s a way to solve any problem you are left with, and while it might cost you now and then, the profit of the property will far outweigh the costs you have to put forth. Pet problems? There’s actually a treatment that will deactivate allergens so that the next tenant doesn’t have to worry about it. You can target urine spots or re-carpet to completely eliminate odors.
Smokers? That’s okay! You can hire a cleaning service that will wipe down every surface top-to-bottom to completely eliminate the smell.

Using the Safety Deposit

The safety deposit can only be withheld to cover costs of damages beyond “normal wear and tear” in an apartment. Normal wear and tear typically includes the following:

  • Wearing-down rug
  • Faded wallpaper or paint from the sun
  • Holes in the wall from hanging pictures
  • Appliances getting worn down
  • Warping in the windows and doors, from weather and age
  • Dusty blinds

Anything that can be called “damaged” instead of “worn” can be a cause for concern and a reason to withhold part of the security deposit. However, in order to minimize confusion and conflict about the security deposit, you should follow these steps:

  • Know the rules and laws about it for your state, as they can vary.
  • Fill out a move-in checklist so you can compare points when the tenant moves out, and have the tenant sign off on it when they move in.
  • Itemize any deduction and keep receipt of all costs that you had to pay in order to repair damage.