Suggestion to Landlords:
I read so many threads here about tenants and LL's arguing over broken stuff and deposits.
Before you rent a property - at a minimum - download the HUD housing checklist (google it) and use it to do a walk through and punch-list of items that need to be fixed or taken care of prior to occupancy.
If you have to go to court you can show the judge the unit complied to HUD standards, or usually far beyond. Photo items to standard - check them off as you go.
We also do bi-annual maintenance in May and November. Filters, leaks, lube stuff, paint touch-up, NOTICE of cleaning deficiencies - need for carpet cleaning, etc.
At turn over do general maintenance. Drain the water heater, run the dishwasher, snake the drains, check the toilet and replace the flapper. Whatever. DOOR STOPS and door knob protectors, and I also use clear corner protectors. Spray for bugs, put out roach traps to verify, squirt roach dust into the light sockets and any opening you can find.
Then CLEAN the unit until it's as clean as it can be for the price.
Then take digital pictures of details - and especially places like door knob stops on walls.
In addition to the HUD list we use a 4 page personal list.
Upon move-in - the tenant signs both forms.
Also signs a price list for cleaning and repairs - and it ain't cheap! We make it clear going in that the unit is spotless, our tenants always agree it's the cleanest place they've ever had - and that if they don't return it that way it is going to cost them deposit money. We suggest that unless they are cleaning pros they budget money during their rental to have a professional crew come in for a couple of hundred bucks or else expect to pay us at least that much. And we suggest having a professional housekeeper at least twice a year in an apartment for $40 or so.
Signs a form stating the drains are running clear.
Signs a form stating there are no obvious vermin or bed bugs.
Signs a form stating we have taken photos of conditions in their presence.
They have 10 days to notify us of any vermin infestation, plumbing or other problem. After that it is their problem. If they plug the toilet, the bill is on them. If they bring in bed bugs or roaches - they are (usually) responsible to mitigate it (in our state - check your local laws).
When tenant moves out - we offer a pre-walk through to note defencies, if tenants requests. We suggest they move out several days early to allow time to clean completely - unless they want to pay us to do it for them.
We do a final walk through only after everything is out and keys returned. Tenant can be present (some states this is a legal right). We take photos. We do not discuss most deficiencies at that time - it is too late for the tenant to fix it, they are moved out, all it does is start arguments. Within the legal time line we reconcile any deposit withholding and return and excess deposit but never earlier than 7 days (our states allow 14/21/30 days - check yours). Never return deposit immediately, something always turns up.
If you will do this you will solve 90% of your repair and deposit problems.
I have 16 apartments - I have had one maintenance call since June - clogged AC filter - tenant deficiency, and ZERO repair costs all summer. I have spent ZERO time (I have a grounds keeper) at the properties since June.
I have had ZERO tenant issues since June other than a couple of minor late pays handled by phone, and I mean minor like 2 days till a Friday check.
My point is it CAN be done. Landlords and tenants CAN get along and not sue each other and everyone can have a great life!
Give it a try.
Last edited by jamies; 09-19-2011 at 12:01 AM..