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Avoiding the tenant from hell: top five tips for landlords

Attracting good tenants and keeping them happy is one of the best investments a landlord can make, says landlord insurance specialist Terri Scheer Insurance.

“Tenants can make or break a landlord’s investment experience, so it’s important to minimise potential risks by attracting suitable tenants from the outset,” Carolyn Parrella, the company’s executive manager said.

Here are her top five tips to help avoid the tenant from hell.

1) Know your target tenant

“The process of attracting a suitable tenant begins before you’ve even purchased your rental property,” Parrella said.

“When choosing an investment property, think about the type of tenant you want to attract, whether that is a family, sole tenant or couple, and choose a property that is likely to appeal to them. Poorly maintained properties in low socio-economic areas may be less desirable for your target tenants and, in turn, may also attract potentially unruly tenants.

“Established, well-appointed homes that are close to good schools, shops and public transport are highly sought after and will give you a larger pool of prospective tenants to select from.”

2) Present your property well

“A property that is poorly presented by the landlord is likely to be poorly cared for by the tenant,” Parrella said.

“Landlords who present a clean, tidy and well-cared-for property set the standard that tenants are encouraged to maintain.”

3) Screen potential tenants

“It is important to thoroughly screen rental applications, as this is vital to help to filter out potential troublemakers,” Parrella said.

“Speak with previous landlords or property managers and ask whether they have had any issues with the tenants being reviewed, including late or missed rental payments and incidences of malicious or accidental damage.”

4) Appoint an expert

“Property managers can help you identify good tenants from the outset,” Parrella said.

“They have experience in screening prospective tenants and have access to a database that lists tenants with a history of defaulting on rental payments, damaging property, eviction and absconding.

“A property manager can also take responsibility for conducting regular property inspections and will alert you to potential issues with the tenant or their lifestyle before they escalate.”

5) Get landlord insurance

“While even the best tenant can accidentally damage a property or run into financial hardship, there are also a minority of bad tenants who purposely cause grief for their landlords,” Parrella said.

“Every landlord should consider having a tailored landlord insurance policy that covers them for both malicious and accidental damage, their legal liability and the loss of any rental income.

“This type of cover can provide landlords peace of mind should the unforeseen insured events occur. This is important as a standard building and contents insurance policy generally won’t cover landlords for the risks associated with owning an investment property.”

Article supplied by Terri Scheer