You’ve probably found that many of your tenants are decent, hard-working people who pay their rent on time. On the other hand, you’ve probably also dealt with your fair share of tenant violations.
Failure to pay rent is a fairly obvious tenant violation, but what about other violations of the terms of the lease? Here are 3 significant tenant violations to watch out for.
Undocumented members of a household can be a significant source of headache. They haven’t gone through the proper screening process, so there is no way to know what kind of backgrounds they have. Do they have criminal records? Are they dangerous? What else is going on in a house that has undocumented members?
The best way to catch tenants who are harboring an undocumented housemate is by being very attentive and thorough. Tenant Verification Service recommends looking for cars that are not owned by the proper tenants that are always parked outside the unit.
This is not a bad first step, but there are shortcomings: such a vehicle might be the vehicle of a friend or significant other who often visits, or perhaps the vehicle simply belongs to a neighbor.
Make a point of keeping an eye on a home where you suspect an undocumented resident lives. If your suspicions deepen, a good next step is to talk to neighbors, ideally other tenants. Is this person always around? Is there any reason to believe that this person actually lives in the unit?
Even duly-authorized pets can do a great deal of damage. After all, a dog or cat (or other animal) does not know that it has been authorized and that it must therefore be on its best behavior.
Again, the best thing here is to be vigilant. Do you see, hear, or smell anything that seems off? A cat sunning itself on a window, in a home that is not supposed to have any pets at all? A dog barking? You can also keep an eye out for any damage that seems suspiciously pet-related and is unaccounted for in your pet reports. A good property management app can help you to keep track of your records.
Both drug users and drug dealers are, to state the obvious, not desirable tenants. Be on the lookout for any unusual smells lingering in the vicinity of the place. Marijuana at least can be discerned by its characteristic “skunk” smell. Be particularly alert for such smells at a consistent time.
A meth lab is a far more serious proposition. As with marijuana, be on the lookout for unusual smells. In the case of meth labs, the odors produced are very strong, and might be described as smelling like cat urine or rotten eggs. The trash is another giveaway: be on the lookout for anything that looks like it could be related to the chemicals used to manufacture meth, such as bleach, lye, lithium batteries (a source of lithium) and matches and match box strikers (a source of red phosphorous).
Also be on the lookout for windows that have been boarded up or blacked out, a possible indication that some kind of drug manufacture is taking place. If a number of strange people come and go at odd times, stopping in briefly and then taking off again, this may be a sign that a tenant is dealing drugs.
As a property manager, you have a lot to keep track of. Fortunately, digital property management inspection apps offer powerful tools to help you organize your schedule and carry out inspections more efficiently.