Expect the unexpected
There are a lot of things landlords can and should expect from tenants, then there are the horror stories. Whatever strange, frightful, costly experience you can imagine right now – the chance it has already happened to another landlord somewhere is high. No matter how well a tenant checks out, the reality is that people are unique, and everybody has a private life. As a landlord it’s always advised to assume the best, anticipate the worst and insure accordingly.
Tenants leaving things behind is a common situation that landlords don’t expect but can be a real pain if the tenant is uncontactable. Maybe it’s just a sofa, or maybe they’re on the run from someone and it’s everything they own – whatever the scenario, the costs of removalists, storage fees and unpaid rent will inevitably fall on the landlord. Drug labs are another scenario. Sadly, there has been an increase in DIY drug labs in recent years in Australian rental properties. The upside of that is we know what clues to look for. Unusual stains or discoloration of surfaces are worth investigating, as are smoke detectors with missing batteries, drug paraphernalia in the outside rubbish bins and windows that have been blocked out with plastic or cardboard.
A conversation between the property manager and the landlord, about what might happen in the event of unexpected situations, is worth having as soon as the listing is confirmed. Property managers have seen it all, so can advise how their processes work, and it’s in their interests also, to make sure your landlord insurance is up to scratch.