Tenant damage is something that most landlords fear, but there are a few steps you can take to minimize the risk and ensure your property remains in good condition before, throughout, and after a tenancy.
Tenant-Caused Damage: Who Pays?
Before you move a tenant into your property, it’s important to do a thorough walk through. Take pictures and if possible, do the walk through with your tenant. Even if you notice some cosmetic damage in the apartment or the house, it’s a good idea to document this ahead of time. It ensures the tenant won’t be held accountable for the damage at the end of the lease.
When the tenant moves out, it’s important to do another walk through together. This will allow you to document new damage that wasn’t there before a tenant moved in. It will give your tenant an idea of what they will need to pay for out of the security deposit.
What to Do if a Tenant Destroys My Property
Before making any repairs to your property, take pictures of the damage. Keep receipts for anything over $30 that you have to buy to repair the damage. Charge the tenant a reasonable labor rate, and most importantly, send the tenant an itemized statement for what you’ll deduct. If there is any money left from the damage you’ve repaired, refund that excess amount to the tenant within the legal time period.
If the tenant owes you more than the amount of the deposit, it’s important to reach out to them and ask them to pay the difference. This is an important step to take before you go with your legal options.