Congratulations, you’re a property owner! You’re ready to find a couple of responsible tenants to rent out the home and make a little extra cash. In a perfect world, the tenants leave the space in better condition than they found it, but that’s not always the reality. There are ways for fortifying a home to safeguard it against accidents from even the clumsiest of tenants. You need this to ensure your peace of mind and that your renter’s security deposit remains intact. Here are some do’s and don’ts from the property managers at Utopia Management who’ve been managing rentals for over 25 years.

Photo by Francesca Tosolini on Unsplash

Who is Moving In?

The first and best thing for fortifying a home in terms of protecting it against damage is to vet and screen potential tenants. Of course, accidents happen, but with trusted tenants, the worst of it is a scuff on the floor or an accidental wine spill on the carpet. You won’t be patching up holes in the wall or determining the best way to get rid of the unidentifiable smell that seems to be lingering long after their departure. So one of the best pieces of advice is to do your research before allowing someone to move into your property. Criminal background checks, previous rental references, and employment verification are a must. There are online services in the $50 range that will run all of these for you instantly.

Paint Walls Using Glossy or Semi-Gloss Paint

While gloss and semi-gloss paint can tack on an additional cost to your paint budget, it is well worth it in the long run. Flat paint may look nice for the first few months but holds onto any scuff or adorable little crayon illustration left behind from tenants and their children. With a gloss finish, you’re able to wipe most messes clean and potentially spend less time painting between tenancies.

Equip All Doors with Door Stoppers

Remember the holes in the wall aforementioned? Door stoppers do a bang-up job at preventing your walls from getting, well, banged up. Every single door in the house should also have a doorstop. Best of all, this is an easy and inexpensive project that you can complete in an afternoon. It’ll save you from patching up and painting over the damage that would be left behind otherwise.

Avoid Carpets if You Can

If you have the opportunity to upgrade your floors, choose a durable option like vinyl tile, faux wood, bamboo, laminate, or ceramic. These materials stand the test of time for scuffs, pet scratches, and stains. Steer clear of carpet if you know what is good for you. It is by far the cheapest, but you will need to replace it every couple of years, probably between every tenant. It WILL get stained and stained carpets can put off prospective tenants. Not to mention smells that get trapped.

Install the Window Treatments Ahead of Time

The owner of the property should do anything that requires a power drill. There are way too many possible outcomes that don’t end in a successfully installed window treatment when someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing is left to “figure it out”. Of course, there are plenty of tenants who are handy with a power tool, but it’s best to set your tenant up for success with pre-installed durable blinds before they move in. Many states require some sort of window coverings.

Install All Racks, Bars, and Hooks into Studs

Very rarely do we consider the maximum amount of weight that a hook or rack can withstand before hanging a purse, a coat, and your dog’s leash from it only to hear it rip out of the wall three minutes later. Rule of thumb, screw everything into a stud. For about $12 you can possess a stud finder which is a lot more reliable than the ol’ “knock over here then knock over there,” trick.

Change out AC Filters

As a step for fortifying a home, this is an easy one to forget to keep up with. However, it is crucial to the longevity of your air conditioning unit. Neglecting your air filter leads to greater strain on the unit. This in turn can lead to higher energy bills or even damage beyond repair.  Provide your tenants with a few filters to move forward.  You can also give them a purchase link with the appropriate size and directions on when to change it out. Include in your lease that the tenant must change them monthly, and follow up to be sure they are.

Simplify Landscaping or Hire a Lawn Service

Keeping up with the landscape of a home can require a lot of effort and dedication. Indeed, tending to the garden may be a bit more than your tenant signed up for. It doesn’t take long before neglected plants, flowers and lawns start to diminish the curb appeal.

There are plenty of plants and trees that are incredibly low maintenance that will spruce up the home and keep it looking nice. It’s best to keep the landscaping needs to a minimum or hire a monthly landscaping service to keep up with the chores outside.

Inspect Your Property Every Six Months

It’s perfectly acceptable to schedule a check-in with your tenants to verify that they are complying with the pre-outlined lease agreement terms. Have those air filters been getting changed out? Have they reported any damage that requires attention? Did they adopt a mini horse that they failed to mention? Checking in regularly conveys the message that you’re attentive and you care about the property and in turn, they should too.


In case you have any architectural, structural, and MEP design including fire sprinkler design requirements, or need to design your home renovation project or home including structure, and HVAC design, feel free to contact us.  We provide you with the full permit set design + T24 for your request.