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Does Your Washington Rental Property Need a Fence?

Washington Professional Installing a FenceIf your Washington rental property doesn’t already have a fence, you might be wondering if you should have one put in. Or probably your tenant has asked for permission to build a fence on the property. Either way, you’re faced with two serious questions: does your rental need a fence, and if yes, who will install it? The first step to making an intelligent choice is to recognize both the pros and cons of a fence for your rental property.

There are many advantages to fencing a rental property, but maybe the most important factor you might consider doing so is that your ideal tenant needs a fence. Depending on the neighborhood and your renter demographic, a fenced rental property could greatly boost its value.

In the single-family rental home market, you should know what type of tenant you want to rent to and create a property that will best appeal to that category. This goes double if you’re looking for ways to raise your tenant base. If you’re attempting to get another kind of tenant in the door, adding a fence to your rental property might do well. Tenants with families or pets are always the ones who will be guaranteed to choose a rental home with a fence over one without.

On the other hand, installing a fence to a rental property in some areas doesn’t make any sense. Fences can be a high-priced improvement project and not something to be ignored. Some tenants don’t really need a fence, while others consider them a disturbance that compromises their views.

Additionally, in some neighborhoods, municipalities or owner’s associations have strict regulations about what type of fencing materials are allowed or even if you can have a fence on the property at all. If installing a fence doesn’t make sense for your area, tenant demographic, or budget, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to do so.

But what if your current tenant has asked for a fence? If you have received such a request, it’s important to take it seriously. This is specifically true if your tenant is a responsible long-term tenant, and you want to promote good relations with them. Building a fence for a tenant isn’t as unusual as it may sound at first. However, a fence is a property improvement that will most likely add to your property’s value. You can also regularly use a new fence as a tax write-off, which may come in handy.

If there are real obstacles in the way of granting their request, whether because the HOA prohibits fences or there are strict zoning laws, it’s important to communicate those reasons clearly with your tenant. Simply telling them “no” may make them feel hurt or resentful and might even prompt them to try and build a fence themselves – maybe without your permission and without obtaining the necessary permits or approvals first.

However, sometimes allowing a tenant to build a fence on the property may be an attractive offer. This is especially true if you know your tenant can do the job expertly and if they offer to pay for the materials. If both of these things are true, you may feel confident in allowing a tenant to proceed with the project.

On another note, there are a few possible downsides to trusting your tenant with such a major property improvement. If your tenant builds a fence, you won’t be aware of the materials they choose to use and the construction quality. If your tenant installs a fence using cheap or flimsy materials or doesn’t do a good job, your property could quickly become a neighborhood annoyance. A horrifying or poorly built fence may have a massive negative effect on not only your property’s curb appeal but your property values as well.

Because fences often sit on property lines, there is also the possibility that your tenant will damage neighboring properties, injure themselves, or cause conflict with the neighbors. People living nearby may not want a fence so close to their property and may object to having one built.

There are also buried gas lines, water lines, and other utilities to avoid. If your tenant unintentionally breaks a gas or water line, you could end up not only with annoyed neighbors but an expensive repair bill from the city as well. The same goes if your tenant somehow ends up hurting him or herself or others. Not only might you be responsible for paying hospital bills, but you might also wind up the target of an expensive lawsuit as well.

Do you have questions about which upgrades and improvements are right for your rental property? Give Real Property Management Southern Utah a call at 435-673-4242! We can help you maximize your rental property’s curb appeal without blowing your budget.

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