Renting out your property can provide you with a steady source of income. But it can also become a headache for you.
What if the tenants damage your property and refuse to pay for the repairs?
This is the reason why many people hesitate to rent out their property. You should understand the state laws to avoid any issues down the line.
Here’s what you need to do if you find out that tenants have damaged your rental property:
Identify the Cause of the Damage
Property damage is one of the major reasons for a dispute between a landlord and the tenants. Landlords want the renters to pay the repair costs, whereas tenants often claim that the tenant is obliged to pay for the repair work.
The first step of dealing with such a situation is to identify the cause of the damage. Wear and tear is inevitable. For instance, the walls of the property can get slightly scuffed. This wear and tear is common for a property that is lived in. Therefore, you can’t blame the tenants for this damage.
It’s best to add a clause to the tenancy agreement beforehand. This will help you handle the situation more effectively without a dispute. The laws regarding the wear and tear of property are becoming more well-defined, making it easier for the landlords and tenants to resolve the issue.
However, troublesome tenants can damage your property on purpose. For instance, if you had a fight with your tenant, they may damage your property. You can consult an attorney to know about your rights and take legal actions against the tenants to make up for your loss.
A genuine damage to the property is a destruction that could have been avoided in the first place and was done intentionally by the tenant.
Take Quick Actions
In case of any damage to your property, take quick actions. The more you delay, the more difficult it’ll be for you to handle the situation.
It’s the responsibility of the tenant to inform the landlord at the earliest if they have damaged the property by mistake. Don’t worry about the situation and instead take action.
You should inspect the rental to analyze the damages. But you’ll need to notify the tenant 24 hours prior to your visit. It’s best to hire a professional repair service to determine the extent of the damages.
Go through the terms of the lease contract. If there’s a clause regarding the property damages, you need to act accordingly to dissolve the situation.
Accidents can occur anytime. If a tenant has broken the appliances accidentally in the furnished apartment, they are obliged by the law to pay for the losses. This law protects the rights of the landlords.
Inspect the property, take pictures of the premises, and get estimates for the repair work. You should share the estimates with the tenant. If the damage isn’t due to a normal wear and tear, the tenant will have to pay the total costs of the repair work. However, if they refuse to pay, you can file a lawsuit against your tenants.
As per the laws, any damages done to the property by the negligence or the tenant, member of their household or their guest should be paid by the tenant. For instance, if any visitor spilled wine on the carpet of the furnished apartment, the tenant must pay the cleaning costs. However, if they refuse to pay, you can deduct the amount from their security deposit.
Damage Done on Purpose
Tenants damage the rental property when they are upset with the landlord and want to take revenge on them. If this is the case and they have damaged your property on purpose, they won’t cooperate with you. So, it’s recommended to get in touch with an attorney to deal with the situation.
When a tenant signs a lease contract, it’s a must for them to pay a safety deposit. In case of any damages to the property during the tenancy term, the property owner can use this fund to cover the expenses of the repair work.
The law allows the landlords to evict the tenants before the end of the lease term if they have caused serious damages to property on purpose. So, evict them before they can further damage the premises.
Once they have left the property, you should inspect the property to determine the extent of damage and how much it’d cost to address the repair work.
How to Resolve the Matter
Before you rent out your property, don’t forget to take pictures of the premises. At the end of a tenancy term, you can compare the current condition of the property with these images.
When tenants sign a tenancy contract, they agree that they will pay repair costs as needed. If they have damaged your property, you can show the evidence and ask them to pay the repair costs. However, if they refuse to pay, you can take them to court.
You can also discuss the matter with the third party holding your security deposit. They can act as an adjudicator to resolve the dispute. However, keep in mind that their decision is final. If they announce that the damage is actually normal wear and tear, you can’t take your claim to court.
All in all, you need to be proactive if your tenant has damaged your property. You should analyze the condition of the rental property and estimate the repair costs. Share the estimation report with tenants. Whether the damages were done due to their negligence or they did it intentionally, tenants are obliged to pay the repair costs.
However, some tenants may refuse to cooperate with you. You can take them to court if they refuse to cooperate. But it’s best to consult an attorney beforehand to ensure that you don’t end up breaching the law.