👋 Join us for a special webinar Thursday, January 11th
Learn More

How To Protect Your Rental Properties From Bad Tenants

Ethan Lieber
February 3, 2020
How To Protect Your Rental Properties From Bad Tenants Y-Combinator REZI Talks

Rental property owners know that every once in a while, negligent tenants are bound to show up at their office door. These people create issues, like damaged apartment interiors and past-due rent checks. Luckily, it’s possible to fix most of these problems from the start. Here are a few ideas on how you can prevent these dreaded occurrences.

Screen Candidates Thoroughly

Before all else, have interested tenants fill out an application. Doing so will allow you to check credit, rental and criminal history, which can help you determine if they’re a good fit.

You might also want to ask for references from any past landlords they’ve rented from. Then, you can ask any questions you need to directly. Doing this can significantly lower the risk of headaches down the line.

Require a Large Security Deposit

Almost all rental companies require a security deposit. To prevent destruction from happening, discourage tenants by requiring a substantial security deposit. Since they’ll want their money back at the end of their lease, they’ll be less likely to cause any damage.

That said, your state’s laws limit how much you can charge. Consider rental price, the property’s amenities and local competition as well. You don’t want to go overboard – charging an unreasonable amount will deter renters altogether and put unnecessary strain on new tenants.

Conduct Inspections, Cleanings and Updates

Renters are human, so some damage will be accidental, or not their fault at all. Often, a lack of maintenance leads to leaky pipes and broken air filters. Your tenants may have never taken care of an apartment or house before, so remind them to check on things.

Conduct inspections every few months so you can personally take a look. Hire a professional service to come out and clean a couple of times a year as well. These steps will allow you to assess any home improvements you need to make. At the end of every year, you should:

  • Paint the exteriors and interiors
  • Regrout bathroom and kitchen tile
  • Clean the gutters
  • Switch out furnace filters
  • Replace flooring if needed
  • Look for water damage
  • Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

You may also want to look into technology that can help you in maintaining your properties. These gadgets can prevent fires, water damage, gas leaks and more. You can nip potential disasters in the bud and reduce repair requests.

If you manage a vacation home, smart locks are a good investment, as new renters arrive every few weeks. Research the different types of smart home devices before you list a property, just in case you find something useful to you.

Outline Pet Restrictions

Many tenants have animals they’ll want to bring with them, like cats, dogs and reptiles. Unfortunately, these pets can cause significant damage to your property. Pet nails can tear up carpet and scratch hardwood flooring, and worse, some tenants may not promptly clean up accidents before they begin to create long-term smells.

Popular ways to handle this are to set monthly pet rent, determine weight and breed limits or ban animals altogether. While this may cause renters to look elsewhere, it’ll protect your property in the long run.

However, you can still maintain a pet-friendly apartment while keeping your property safe. Ask to meet a dog before you offer a lease to a new tenant, to gauge its behavior and training. You can also opt for more durable flooring options or request that tenants use padding to cover vulnerable hardwood.

Make It Easy to Request Repairs

When something breaks, most tenants will report it within a few days. But, if they don’t know how to, or the process is inaccessible, the problem may go unfixed. If people must visit an office and fill out a form to repair a doorknob, many of them will forget or not do it.

Consider implementing an online system, like Latchel, for renters to file repair claims. Even the most old-fashioned of landlords can put this into practice, especially if people already pay their rent on the web.

Foster a Communicative Relationship

No one ever wants to fight with their landlord, and when you have rocky relationships with your tenants, things can go wrong fast. From day one, you’ll want to build up that relationship to let new renters know you’re there to help. When issues arise, they can come to you to solve them.

If your renters don’t like interacting with you, they’ll be hesitant to bring things to your attention. This is how landlords end up with long-term property issues that could have been fixed with a little preventative maintenance.

Protect Your Rental Property in the Long-Term

As always, the best way to ensure something gets done right the first time is by taking the reins and doing it yourself. Tenants themselves can only prevent so much damage, especially if you don’t make it easy to report it or fix it. Take note of these suggestions so you can be prepared to take on your next renter.

Holly Welles is a real estate writer who covers renting and investing for Apartment Guide, Rental Housing Journal and other digital publications. More of her work can be found on her own website, The Estate Update.

Share this
Related Posts

See why property managers love using Latchel


Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Get more content like this sent straight to your inbox by joining our Property Brew Newsletter list. From new podcast episodes and eBook downloads to blog posts and new Latchel features, we’ll send you all the right tools to help streamline your property management business and keep you in the know.

Unlock the Potential of Digital Insurance
Launch a tailored renter's insurance program

Sure provides tailored renter’s insurance that enables property managers, owners, and residents to protect their property, minimize risk, and experience the peace of mind that comes with the protection of your assets and business.

Most leases require renters insurance. So, we’ve partnered with Sure to provide that option for your residents. While residents aren’t required to use Sure to meet the renter’s insurance requirement, this is still a convenient option you can offer to your tenants. 

All services and products are provided by Sure, not Latchel subject to Sure’s terms and conditions.

Property Inspection Platform
Automate and Organize Inspections with RentCheck

Make Inspections Easier
RentCheck saves time by enabling residents to complete inspections on their own. Customization and automation ensure the job gets done.


Stop Wasting Time
Schedule inspections for all stages of the lease cycle at any cadence you choose. RentCheck handles the reminders.


Instantly Submit Work Orders
Take advantage of Latchel's integration with RentCheck to instantly submit a work order for any maintenance issues that pop up on an inspection.


Modernize Your Process
Easily compare new and existing inspection reports, side-by-side, and avoid security deposit disputes.


Prompt Routine Filter Changes and Resident Tasks
Schedule resident reminders to replace filters and other upkeep tasks over the course of the lease lifecycle.

To learn more about RentCheck, talk with a Latchel benefits expert today. All services and products are provided by RentCheck, not Latchel, and subject to RentCheck’s terms and conditions.

Affordable Pest Control

Access world class pest control for a fraction of the normal price. No need for new software or a complicated setup.


Easy Pest Control
Residents simply reach out to Cover Pest if there is a pest issue, and Cover Pest takes it from there.


Clarity on Who Pays the Bill
No more awkward conversations about who is responsible for the bill! With Cover Pest as a resident benefit, residents get pest control for covered pests without an additional cost.


Vendor Sourcing
No more sourcing for vendors! Cover Pest will source and coordinate with vendors for each pest control request

To learn more about Cover Pest, talk to a Latchel benefits specialist today.  All services and products are provided by Cover Pest, not Latchel, and subject to Cover Pest’s terms and conditions.

Air Filter Delivery Subscription

FilterTime is an air filter delivery service that makes it easy and convenient for residents to replace their air filters. FilterTime customers can protect their HVAC system, reduce dust and pollen, save money on energy costs, and more by leveraging this delivery service.


Reduce Labor for HVAC Issues
Filter delivery service results in a 38% reduction of total HVAC ticket requests.


Cost Savings on HVAC Repairs
Average HVAC repair costs have increased by 48.7% year over year. an air filter delivery subscription can cut costs up to $250-300 per property per year.


Energy Reduction
Filter delivery is saving residents $14.82 per month in energy costs.

How it works:

Choose from almost every size and type of air filter including custom-made sizes

Choose how often you want your filters delivered


 A box of brand new air filters delivered to your resident’s front door

To learn more about FilterTime, talk with a Latchel benefits specialist today. All services and products are provided by FilterTime, not Latchel subject to FilterTime’s terms and conditions.

Boost resident satisfaction and drive good resident behavior through a rewards, incentives, and credit building program

Drive On-Time Rent Payments
Piñata rewards renters for on-time rent payments through Piñata cash, and boosts renter's credit scores for online payments.


Boost Resident Satisfaction
$30 gift card to use at select brands and businesses, $25 restaurant card, 720 annual Piñata Cash to use on rewards, Early lease renewal gift.


Attract and Retain Renters
2 out of 3 renters prefer properties with rent reporting. Plus, residents get incentives for early lease renewals.


Rewards Residents Love
Residents can use Piñata Cash on brands they know and love, such as: Starbucks, Amazon, Sephora, Lego, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Doordash, Best Buy, and many more!

Piñata Cash

Residents easily earn Piñata Cash any day of the month by doing things like taking surveys, referring friends, or trying out new products.

Residents also get access to big-ticket giveaways, limited drops and super surges!

And, with exclusive access to our marketplace with over 300,000 deals, residents can squirrel away up to $4,500 annually.

To learn more about Piñata, talk with a member of our benefits team today. All services and products are provided by Piñata, not Latchel subject to Piñata’s terms and conditions.

Master Liability Insurance

Now you have one less thing to worry about with a Master Liability Policy through Obie.


Affordable Coverage
Affordable policies available with liability coverage starting at $100,000 and up to $300,000 to meet any property manager insurance requirements.


Stay 100% Compliant
Master policy provides $100,000 for management companies and owners by ensuring 100% of occupied homes and units are covered for property damage liability issues relating to resident negligence.


Peace of Mind
Liability coverages include perils such as fire, smoke, water, explosion, overflow of sewer, and many others that provide coverage for damages you (the resident) may cause to your unit or home


Personal Liability
Personal liability coverage is automatically include to protect you against claims where you may be considered legally liable. (Bodily injury claims, dog bite claims, and more)


Additional Coverages
Additional/expanded coverages are also available. (Pet damage, identity fraud, theft/vandalism, and more are available!)

All services and products are provided through Obie and are subject to Obie’s terms and conditions.

👋 Join us for a special webinar Thursday, January 11th