Turning over your rental property to a new tenant means that you’ve worked hard to get it into the perfect condition. It’s every landlord’s hope that the tenant will take just as good care of the property as you have. Part of doing that is having the right tools at their disposal, so that when something happens, the tenants can deal with it immediately.
There are a few things that landlords can provide as part of the rental property that might make it easier for tenants to respond to situations ranging from normal to unusual, and perhaps even minimize an emergency.
Here are 6 things that landlords can include in their rental properties for tenants to use:
1. Toilet plunger
In every house, the toilet will become plugged at one time or another. Having a toilet plunger on hand can minimize the amount of time that water is overflowing onto the floor, causing damage in the bathroom. A toilet plunger is not usually something that tenants think to go out a buy on their own until it is too late.
However, if you provide a toilet plunger in the utility closet, under the bathroom sink, or other obvious storage space, the tenant will have the right tool on hand to stop the problem. Because toilet plungers cost just a few dollars, this makes it a really big return for a small purchase price.
2. Rechargeable flashlight
This may seem like an odd item to include in a rental property, but it’s something that tenants don’t realize they need until they really do need it. Providing a heavy-duty flashlight that plugs into a socket and recharges automatically benefits your tenant in several ways. In a blackout situation, your tenant will be able to check the property safely, flip breakers if necessary, and navigate stairs without injury. It may also be useful for your tenant to use a flashlight to peek into dark places under the sink or in a dark utility room and spy a problem, like a leak, sooner.
3. Snow shovel and salt
The typical arrangement for landlords and tenants living in snow country is usually that tenants are responsible for shoveling the sidewalks and driveway if the rental property is a single family home. Multi-family unit snow removal is usually arranged by the landlord. If you are renting out a single family home, you can provide your tenant with a good, heavy-duty snow shovel and a large bag of salt to care for the walkways in winter. Reducing slips and falls is always a good thing, and keeping snow and ice at bay is easiest with the right tools.
4. Fire extinguisher
An often overlooked item, a fire extinguisher is a critical piece of equipment in many rental properties. When used properly, it’s an effective tool to minimize the damages that might arise from a kitchen fire. Place the extinguisher in an easy-to-reach location, like inside a pantry or under the kitchen sink. Make sure you review how to use it with your tenant as part of the walk-through inspection. When it comes to damages from a fire, the extinguisher could mean a savings of thousands of dollars, plus keeping your tenants safe.
5. Emergency call list
Good landlords have a range of experts on hand to call in an emergency, such as plumbers, electricians and so forth. If you want your tenant to be able to respond to emergencies that require outside assistance and save their belongings and your property, consider providing an emergency list for them to use. Decide whether you want them to call you first, call the emergency service if you don’t answer within five minutes or some other arrangement. Giving the numbers of people you prefer, who know you and your property and who you trust to your tenants can save your wallet in the long run.
If you are renting out a single-family home and part of the lease agreement states that the tenant is responsible for mowing and light yard work, it’s a good idea to provide a lawn mower for the tenant to use. Most renters won’t own a lawnmower, and wouldn’t really be excited about purchasing one.
Recently there has been a debate between the gas vs electric mower and for landlords, it’s a no-brainer. An electric mower is less moving parts for a tenant to destroy.
With a lawn mower you provide, you can ensure that the blades are sharp, the machine is tuned up each season, and the tenant has no excuse to let the lawn get too long. Make sure you outline the expectations for lawn care in the lease agreement and include the lawn mower as part of the inventory for move-in and move-out inspections.
All in all, the ideal tenant is one that treats your rental property like a home, not just a stopping point on the journey to the next rental. By providing your tenants with the tools and equipment they might need to take care of the place, you are increasing the chances of keeping your property in excellent shape.