COLORADO SPRINGS — Recently, FOX21 came across a Facebook post in which a local woman told users her condo had not only been damaged, but also turned into a meth lab.

That post led local landlords to ask: how can I protect my home even if I am not living in it?

According to Zillow, there are nearly 300 houses available for rent in Colorado Springs. In Pueblo, there are almost 70. Based on iPropertyManagement’s data, in Colorado, 33.21% of households rent their homes.

Although that is good news for landlords looking to rent their properties, that number also opens the door to possible property damage and landlord/tenant conflicts. It is a problem local insurance agent and owner of Valkyrie Insurance Amy Dague has watched several of her clients face.

“It’s been a hidden problem. Over the last ten years it’s become more prevalent.”

Amy Dague, Valkyrie Insurance

From condos turned meth labs, unknown tenants, to property damage, renting out your property can be an intimidating task. Especially when someone looks great on paper but turns out to be anything but.

“They’ve got good credit, they’ve got a good income, they have a good rental history, but that’s just on paper. You don’t know what that person is doing in their everyday life.”

AMY DAGUE, VALKYRIE INSURANCE

So what are landlords to do? First, Dague suggests putting opportunities to walk through the property in the lease. However, those visits should benefit not just the landlord, but also the tenant.

“Look into some simple filter replacements. It sounds so small but write that into your lease. Every six months, there’s a duct cleaning. I don’t want it to turn into a police state where they say ‘Oh my goodness, they had a messy kitchen,’ but they’ll have eyes on what the inside looks like.”

Another tactic to protect your property: keep an eye on the yard.

“A lot of times you’re going to know by simple things outside,” Dague explained. “They’re not taking care of their yard and there’s stuff all over the place. Outside is what everybody gets to pass and see, so if that’s what they’re doing with the outside, maybe look inside.”

House for rent in Colorado Springs

Dague’s biggest piece of advice: make sure you have everything taken care of before the lease is signed. According to Dague, once the damage is done there is, usually, not a lot of help available for landlords.

“Unfortunately, court seems to be the option I see most often and it’s not always very successful,” Dague said. “Sometimes, these renters will make it very hard to be found once they’ve done that type of malicious damage and they know it.”

Back in November of 2021, the city of Colorado Springs held a “Renter Rights Workshop” session featuring advice from local attorney Clinton Albert. Although Albert’s advice is geared mostly toward renters, the workshop provides useful for information for all parties involved in renter agreements.

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs offers information for landlords as well. Click here for a list of resources.