Property damage is the leading cause of property insurance claims, making up 97% of property insurance claims. If you’re a landlord, you must prioritize preventing property damage and having plans to protect you should your property become damaged.
So, what can landlords do to protect themselves from property damage?
Keep reading to learn about five key ways landlords can protect their properties, including safety and security measures, property insurance, and favorable lease terms.
As a landlord, you will ultimately need to foot the bill for any damage caused to your property. If the damage is so severe that repairs are unaffordable, you need a plan in place to ensure you don’t lose your source of income – this is where property insurance comes in.
It guarantees you won’t lose your source of income due to uninhabitable property. You get payments from your insurance company to cover the lost rent. This is called ‘loss of rent insurance.’
So, with property insurance for renters, you can ensure that property damage does not disrupt your income and diminish your financial health.
One of the best ways for landlords to protect their properties is to prevent property damage from occurring. There are specific safety and security installations that can prevent property damage caused by break-ins, fires, and water damage.
If you’re looking for ways to protect your property from damage, you should consider investing in the security and safety tools listed below.
Security installations go a long way toward preventing break-ins. Some of the best security system installations to consider include:
- Smart door locks – Traditional locks can be picked easily and aren’t a sufficient security measure to protect your property. Instead, you might consider investing in door locks using fingerprints, mobile credentials, or facial recognition. This way, you can ensure the property is only accessible to authorized individuals, and the lock will not be pickable or usable to anyone other than the registered users.
- Surveillance cameras – placing surveillance cameras such as DVR security cameras at your property’s entrance points will help to deter criminals when they check out the property. Placing your cameras in a visible location and signage on the property’s exterior will make it clear to potential intruders that the building is secured. If a crime occurs on the property, you will have evidence to present to the police and your insurance company to aid in your claim. If you opt for a cloud-based surveillance system, you can view your security information from anywhere and receive alerts for suspicious activity.
These security staples go a long way toward preventing property damage and can be an attractive feature for your tenants – they will feel safer in their homes, and you can rest assured knowing your property is secure.
Smoke detectors and alarm systems can help alert you in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide on your property. Also, landlords are responsible for taking these measures to protect the safety of their tenants.
Consider installing a cloud-based alarm system to ensure you respond quickly to a smoke or carbon monoxide event. The main benefit of a cloud-based system is that you can receive a mobile alert when the alarm is triggered. You can then communicate with your tenants to enquire about the issue and call the authorities if necessary.
Water damage can lead to costly consequences for you as a landlord. To prevent water damage, check the flood risk in the area. In some cases, the local authorities might have already taken flood containment measures. For instance, the G Ross Lord Park in Toronto was created to protect nearby homes from flooding.
As an additional precaution, you should consider performing regular leak inspections to determine whether action is required. This will help you prevent water damage, as dealing with it post-factum is much more costly.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from smaller and less expensive damages is to include a security deposit in your lease agreement.
Should your tenants leave your property worse off than they found it, you may not wish to claim with your insurance company – this could put your no-claims benefits at risk.
Rather than funding the repairs yourself or making an insurance claim, you can use your tenants’ security deposit to fund the repairs. When tenants place their initial deposit and first month’s rent for the property, they will also need to pay a security deposit.
When the tenants leave, you will return the deposit if the property is in excellent condition. However, you will use the deposit to fund the repairs if the property is damaged.
You should ensure that all communication with your tenants is documented in writing. It’s best to avoid talking to your tenants over the phone and use email or messaging tools instead.
If your tenants violate an agreement or make claims against you, you will have documented evidence of your communications to present in court should you need to sue, make a claim, or defend yourself.
Suppose your tenant damages your property intentionally, and you need to evict them or pursue compensation. In that case, you are fully entitled to make a claim, and this evidence will come in handy to protect and restore your property.
When drafting your lease agreement, it’s essential to seek legal advice to ensure you have cover in the event of property damage. Some helpful clauses to include in your lease agreement include:
- Right to entry – this clause ensures that you can send inspectors and maintenance specialists to the property to perform repairs. However, you must alert the tenant of the visit at least 24 hours in advance.
- No subletting – if your tenant sublets your property, you lose control over who can use the property, and you will not be able to vet the additional tenant. So, a no subletting clause can protect your property from potential damage.
- Cleaning clause – specifies the expectations for the tenant caring for the property, ensuring that your property stays clean and in the same condition for both internal and external areas during the lease term.
- Security deposit clause – as mentioned earlier, a security deposit will cover the cost of damages if the tenant leaves the property in poor condition.
If you’re a landlord, you must ensure your property isn’t damaged during the lease term. Damage could decrease the property’s value, and you might need to fund repairs. Taking measures like establishing favorable lease terms, and installing security and alarm systems, can help prevent damage. If damage does occur, you can take your tenants to court and evict them while placing a claim with your property insurance company.