Owning a rental property and being a landlord can definitely be worth it. This is due to the fact that you can easily earn a good amount of money, while not really dealing with the long-term rental on a daily basis.
However, there are some cases in which being a landlord can definitely be a headache. A common problem landlords face is damage to rental property caused by tenants. This can be a landlord’s biggest nightmare. So, how should you deal with damage to rental property caused by a tenant?
We are here to help you go through the process of what to do if a tenant destroys the property and give you advice on how to solve this issue.
#1 Identify the Reason Behind the Rental Property Damage
Identifying the general reasons why property damage occurred is key to knowing how to move forward. Generally speaking, there are two main reasons behind damage to rental property caused by tenants. Let’s review them:
Accidental Damage to Rental Property
You should not always assume the worst from your tenants. In life, it is sometimes the case that things occur unintentionally. The same goes for accidental damage to rental property. That’s why it is important to create trustworthy communication between you and your tenants. Then you can remain calm knowing that they will stick to the rental lease agreement and inform you of any occurring problems in a timely manner. This is necessary as even accidental damage which is not repaired quickly can lead to even bigger destruction.
Damage from Bad Tenants
However, it is also possible that you are dealing with bad tenants. By bad tenants, we are referring to occupants who do not maintain the property in the proper way. In some situations, bad tenants might even cause damage to rental property on purpose.
#2 Evaluate the Rental Property Damage
Another important step to take is to evaluate the damage to the rental property. You should mainly focus on two possible options:
Rental Property Wear and Tear
Let’s face it, it sometimes happens that your rental property gets damaged simply due to being inhabited. This is something unavoidable and happens to all sorts of rental properties. In this scenario, however, we can no longer talk about damage to rental property caused by the tenant as the damage would have occurred anyway. Therefore, you are the one who will have to cover the rental property expenses for fixing the problem. In order to avoid any misunderstandings, there are actual laws which define what is classified as rental property wear and tear vs. actual property damage.
Invest in Real Estate in the 5 Most Landlord-Friendly States where you’ll find the laws tip in your favor!
Actual Rental Property Damage by Tenant
As previously mentioned, it is also probable that you are facing actual damage to rental property caused by a tenant. In such situations, there are several actions you can take in order to repair and protect your property.
#3 How to Deal with Damage to Rental Property Caused by Tenants
First of all, it is important to agree on who will cover the rental property expenses for fixing the problem. This somewhat depends on the rental lease agreement you have signed. Nevertheless, generally speaking, the tenant is the one who should cover the costs for the damage. If the tenant is reluctant to doing so, you can take money from the security deposit in order to repair the property. Of course, it is necessary to show receipts to the occupants and proof of how much was spent and on what.
In situations of involuntary damage to rental property, an agreement between the two parties on how to repair the damage should be reached relatively quickly and without any troubles.
In the unpleasant event of dealing with bad tenants, you might need to take more serious actions. Yes, we are talking about evicting a tenant or suing a tenant for property damage. Even though these measures are rather extreme, it is important to know your rights in order to be able to protect your rental property as well as your business.
#4 How to Prevent Damage to Your Rental Property in the Future
Owning a rental property can be made somewhat easier if you learn how to prevent damage to your property. Here are a few things you can do:
It is important to perform a background check on your potential tenants. This way, you will gather more information about them and will beat the odds of having bad tenants inhabiting your property. You can ask for the contact info of their previous landlord, a bank statement, and everything you find necessary to ensure your investment property is in good hands.
Learn More: Tenant Screening Process: Red Flags Landlords Should Not Ignore
Rental Property Inspection
You can make an agreement with your tenants to conduct a rental property inspection once or twice a year. It will allow you to see how the tenants are maintaining the property and take immediate actions if necessary. You would also be able to notice any occurring “wear and tear” and fix the problem as soon as possible.
On Point Rental Property Management
Hands-on rental property management is important for preventing damage. First of all, you can fix any issues on time and avoid having bigger troubles. Additionally, you will also show your tenants that the property is taken good care of. This should urge them to keep up the maintenance of the home when you are not present as well.
Learn more: 5 Tips to Prevent Damages from Tenants
The Bottom Line
It is possible that you will face the unpleasant event of having your rental damaged by tenants. However, there are certain actions you can take to repair and protect your property. Be sure to study the damage to rental property first in order to make a well-informed decision.
For more tips for landlords, keep reading Mashvisor’s blog.