As a landlord protecting yourself against bad tenants can be tough. One key to ensuring there are no misunderstandings or issues is to put everything in writing.
Having a written record can really help you should you end up in court or have issues with the tenants. Here are some things to ensure you always put in writing.
If you speak with a tenant and tell them you will make repairs or do something, you should always back it up with written documentation. Tell the tenant that you will write up a quick agreement and have the tenant sign it. Try not to make promises when talking to tenants and always put it in writing and have signatures to ensure you have a record.
If your tenants report a maintenance issue, you should put it in writing. Provide them with an easy way to submit requests in writing, so you have the record. If a tenant calls with an issue, make sure to document it in writing.
Move in and out
One of the most important things to document is the condition of the rental unit upon move-in and move-out. Security deposits are a common point of contention and could cause you headaches in court. You should walk through the unit with the tenant at move-in and move-out, documenting issues. Make sure the tenant also signs the paperwork. This can serve as evidence if you need to withhold part or all of the deposit.
Putting everything in writing can help protect your interests. It provides you with proof of agreements and promises that you can use if a legal matter comes up in the future.