As a landlord, you want to ensure your rental property is well taken care of by any tenant living there. Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are with tenant selection, there may come a time when a tenant has trashed your rental property. Discovering the damage to a rental property can be disheartening. Chances are, as a landlord, you’ve put a lot of time and money into your rental property and screening tenants. But despite your best efforts, you may get tenants that end up seriously damaging your rental property either accidentally or on purpose. (1)
This article will discuss what to do when a tenant trashes your rental property. We will provide practical steps and instructions to help landlords in such situations.
Evaluating the Damage
It’s a good idea to take photos of the damage. This will provide you with tangible evidence of the condition of your rental and the damages done. This can help provide proof for insurance claims or small claims court. Photos should be taken from various angles and of different areas of the rental property to capture any damages.
Talk to the Tenant
Discuss the damage with them as well. It’s a good idea to have the tenant present when you evaluate the damages to ensure that they did the damage and to discuss any visible damages to make sure what you are documenting is accurate. This can also provide you with valuable insight into the possible cause of the damage and help you better understand what needs to be done to repair it.
Record the Damage in Writing
You should record the damage in writing. This means writing down descriptions of the damage in a clear and detailed way. You should include details such as the type of damage, where it is, and how much damage has been done. Taking notes will help remind you of the property’s condition after the tenant has moved out and will be helpful when coming up with an estimate of repairs needed.
Make a List of Repairs Needed
Listing out all needed repairs will help you prioritize what needs to be done first and help you determine the estimated repair costs. Once you have the list of repairs, you can then decide on the best course of action.
As a landlord, it is crucial to be familiar with the laws and regulations governing residential property renting. If a tenant is causing damage to your rental property, you have legal options to pursue. Here are some steps we buy houses Kansas City recommend to follow when dealing with tenant damage to your rental property:
Before taking any legal action, landlords must gather evidence of the damage done by the tenant to their rental property. This can be accomplished by taking photos and making a detailed list of all the damages done. Landlords must compile sufficient evidence for this will be the backbone of any legal action.
Obtain a Copy of the Tenant’s Rental Agreement
The tenant’s rental agreement will be vital in helping to determine what course of legal action to take. Landlords should review the tenant’s agreement to establish whether the tenant is responsible for any or all of the damages done to the rental property.
Notify the Tenant
This can be done through a written notice, preferably in the form of a certified letter. In the letter, you must provide a detailed account of what is damaged, the estimated repair cost, and a deadline for the tenant to fix the issue.
Negotiate a Settlement Agreement
If both parties cannot agree on the damages due, the landlord may want to consider negotiating a settlement agreement. This agreement can help resolve any disputes arising from the tenant trashing the rental property and help establish the situation’s terms and conditions.
File a Lawsuit
If negotiations are unsuccessful, landlords may consider filing a lawsuit against the tenant in order to recoup their losses and repair the damage done. It is important to note that filing a case can be a lengthy and costly process, and is only recommended if all other methods have failed.
Mitigating Future Losses
When a tenant trashes your rental property, it is vital to take steps to prevent it from happening again in the future. Here are some tips for mitigating future losses
Screen Tenants Carefully
Properly screening tenants is one of the best methods for mitigating future rental property damage. Do comprehensive background checks and gather references for potential tenants. This will allow you to know more about the people living in your rental property and whether they are a good fit for it. This may also help you identify potential tenants with a history of damaging rental properties.
Crime and vandalism can be a significant issue regarding rental property. Installing additional locks, security cameras, and motion sensors on the property will make it less likely that someone will try to vandalize the property or that a criminal will target it.
Have a Move-In/Move-Out Checklist
Creating a move-in/move-out checklist is an effective way to ensure tenants understand the rental’s current condition and establish the expectation of how the rental should be returned. This will provide a written record of the state of the property and can make it easier to identify damage caused by tenants.
Implement a Strict Pet Policy
Animals can also cause damage to rental properties, so having a strict pet policy in place is essential. This should include pet interviews, deposits, and rules regarding pet ownership. Setting these expectations upfront is necessary to protect your rental property from any potential damage caused by tenants’ pets.
Set Clear Rules
In addition to setting a pet policy, setting clear expectations and rules for tenants is vital. This should include a list of what is and is not allowed in the rental property and the consequences for any violations. This will help ensure tenants know what is expected of them when taking care of the rental property.