How to deal with tenants that cause property damage?
Rental properties are perhaps one of the most rewarding as well as attractive investments to many homeowners. Yet, at times, they may need to deal with unpleasant situations. The unfortunate side is that accidental property damages can be caused by good tenants while bad tenants can do it intentionally. However, if you’re a rental property owner, it’s most likely that you’ll have to go through such property damages at some point of time. Here’re some tips that you can use to deal with these problems while lowering the unwanted stress:
- Inspect the property damage yourself together with your tenant. Talk with your tenant about the damage caused in details. It includes whether the damage is caused by him/her or by any guest. Sometimes, children or pets of the tenant can cause the damage. Take a photograph of the damage to keep in your records as documentation.
- Tell your tenant that you’re going to repair the damage and send the invoice to him/her. Sign and date your letter, keep a copy with you and deliver it by certified mail or by hand. When it comes to repairing damages, get multiple bids from different service providers even if you do have a fixed one who you generally use. It’s your property and you should definitely look for the best deal available.
- Get the repair done by your preferred service provider and pay them yourself. Keep the actual bill or invoice with you while making a copy of it for your tenant. Now, send another letter to your tenant, which describes that the repair has been done and clearly mentions the exact expense of the repair. Attach the copy of the original invoice with the letter, make one copy of the entire document for yourself and arrange to deliver this letter to your tenant.
- If your tenant doesn’t pay the invoice and continues refusing to pay it, you can notify him/her that the cost of repair will be deducted from the security deposit. In case the repair cost is higher than the security deposit amount, you can send him/her legal notice.
- You should inform the local police department about the destruction and damages. Remember that filing a police report doesn’t call criminal charges. In case the damage is actually significant enough and numbers of valuable items got stolen, the police can consider it as a criminal case. If there are other illegal elements tied up with property damage, the police are most likely to act fast and consider this a criminal mischief.
- Finally, you’ll need to contact your insurance company if the damage is huge enough. You might get reimbursed for all or some of the repair cost. Since your insurance company is most likely to ask for the police report, keep the copies of those reports handy. Contact your insurance agent personally to clearly understand the next course of action that you need to perform in order to get the most out of your insurance coverage.