By Clark Sanchez | State Farm
As an insurance agent who specializes in single-family rental property, I go out and look at every single property that we insure. Most are in good condition and approved without any issues. However, more and more properties are being declined, not because the structure is in bad shape or falling down but due to the current tenants learning that they can get away with just about anything, and the owner and/or property manager will not say or do anything in return.
Ultimately, landlords, property managers, and the insurance company should all want the same thing – a tenant with good housekeeping ensuring the property is neat and clean. Unfortunately, many tenants have learned over time that the owner or property manager will allow almost anything without much consequence. To avoid issues like this, property managers need to look at every property at least once a quarter (every 3 months) and get into the habit of providing a written inspection summary to the tenant after every visit. This form needs to specify that for any serious problems, a re-inspection will be conducted and if no corrections have been made then the threat of eviction will be the next step. Property owners need to also monitor their property managers until they have 100% confidence in them and know that they (the owner) do not need to back-check the property manager to be sure everything is being done correctly.
Neat, clean, orderly properties attract neat, clean, orderly renters. At the same time, they also bring higher rent rates and fewer tenant issues. Here are some examples of tenant activities that should never have been allowed:
- Unlicensed vehicles and/or vehicles that do not run are stored at the rental property (front or back yard).
- Vehicles, trailers, and boats that are not operational, and/or do not have current license plates.
- Construction equipment, tools, and supplies are stored at the rental property (including scaffolding, cement mixers, brick, block, lumber, paint, various tools, etc.).
- Old furniture, toys, junk, and tools are scattered around the yard or carport.
And sometimes it is the property manager who has dropped the ball on things like:
- Trees that are overgrown and rubbing against the house roof or walls.
- Weeds and grass that have not been mowed, and create fire hazards.
- Swimming pool fences and self-closing gates that are not in good repair.
- House fences, trim, facia, and gables that have been neglected and need paint.
Insurance companies periodically send inspectors to look at the properties they insure. In addition, the city and county send people to check on neighborhoods. Every landlord wants tip-top tenants, maximum rental income, and minimal issues or trouble. Now would be a good time to check to be sure you’re on that successful road.
***Clark Sanchez is a 42-year Arizona insurance agent and 24-year AZREIA vendor member and sponsor. You can reach him with your insurance questions by calling him at (602) 803-2179 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.