TIP OF THE MONTH - January 2014

Source: Property Management for Dummies
             By Robert Griswold

Another excellent way to avoid disputes over security deposits is for you to take photos or videotape the rental unit before the tenant moves in.  In addition to your inspection form, you will have some photos to help refresh the tenant’s memory or show the court if the matter ends up there.

If you videotape the rental unit, be sure to get the tenant on the tape stating the date and the time.  If you tenant is not present, then bring a copy of that day’s newspaper and include it in your video. With all detailed photography it is not always easy to understand exactly what the picture is showing unless speciffically stated.  So be sure to include a caption or descriptions with all still photos and provide a running detailed narrative with the video.

Do not assume that your tenants are familiar with the appliances and how they work.  Provide your tenants with the appliance manuals or at least copies of the basic operating instructions.

If you have natural gas appliances or gas heat, instruct your tenants to contact the local utility company if they have any questions or concerns.  This is particularly true if they detect the sulfur smell commonly associated with a gas leak.  They should also contact the utility company or your maintenance person if there is a need to relight a pilot light.

Part of your new tenant orientation should include showing your tenants exactly where and how to shut off the utilities in case of a water leak, electrical short, or fire on the property.  If you have a serious storm or earthquake, you tenants will need to be able to immediately turn off the natural gas supply as well.

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This web page was updated on 01/01/2014.