One of the most difficult problems Washington landlords face is finding tenants who take care of the property. In fact, many tenants fail to regularly clean, or they pack the property full of junk, or they even allow the condition of the home to deteriorate to extreme levels.
There are a number of ways that you as a landlord can encourage your tenants to treat the rental property as though it was their own home. With the help of an experienced Washington landlord/tenant attorney, you can draft your agreements and enforce your rights with confidence.
One of the major ways you can protect your rental property is to require tenants to clean the residence and conduct general, continuing care for the property. Below are some tips you can use to encourage tenants to take better care of your property, saving you time, headaches, and money.
Require Cleaning and Care in the Lease
A lease agreement, or rental agreement, can be drafted to require certain levels of cleaning and general cleanliness as part of the agreement's terms. Many landlords do not require any level of cleaning in the lease and tenant expectations are unclear.
The extent to what you can require is strictly controlled by Washington law and even locally specific laws. Requiring these terms in the lease is helpful, but you should consult with your landlord/tenant attorney to make sure the terms comply with Washington law.
Communicate Your Expectations
Tenants do not necessarily pay attention to every term of the lease. During the application process, make sure that your expectations about cleanliness are clearly communicated to your tenant. Make sure they read and understand the cleaning requirements contained in the lease agreement.
Tenants who understand their expectations are significantly more likely to comply with them. Of course, no system is perfect, and even with your best effort, not every tenant will comply. When a tenant fails to comply with the terms of the lease, it may be time to evict.
Perform Regular Inspections
Inspecting your properties on a regular basis is a great way to make sure your property is intact and that tenants are following your cleaning expectations. A landlord's right to inspect the property is laid out in RCW 59.18.150. Landlords are required to
- provide at least two days notice of intent to enter the premises;
- state in the notice the exact time and date of entry, or specify a period of time in which the inspection will occur;
- enter during reasonable hours (i.e., during the day rather than late at night); and
- include in the notice a telephone number the tenant can call to object to the particular inspection time.
Tenants are not allowed to unreasonably refuse to allow a landlord access to the property. On the other side, landlords are not permitted to enter the property in such a way that would interfere with the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment of the property.
Consult a Washington Landlord/Tenant Attorney
There are a number of methods that can be used to encourage proper care of a rental property. This can save you a great deal of time and money in the long run. An experienced landlord/tenant attorney can draft rental agreements for you that comply with Washington law and enforce the terms if a tenant breaches the lease.
Experienced landlord/tenant attorney Quinn Posner represents landlords in Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, and the rest of Clark County. Contact Quinn Posner today to schedule a free consultation.