One of the greatest fears that Roseville investors and landlords have is that a tenant will damage the property that’s being rented out, and it will take an extreme amount of time and money to return the home to habitable condition. This is an understandable concern.
The good news is that this rarely happens. If you work with a property management company that does an excellent job of screening tenants and conducts routine inspections, your risk is low.
The bad news is that there is still some risk there, no matter how great your tenants seem to be. So, what happens if a tenant damages the property during occupancy?
Today, we will take a look at the process we follow at Sunburst Properties when we’re dealing with property damage caused by tenants.
A Strong Lease Provides Direction
The first thing any landlord should do is to check the lease agreement. If you have a strong lease that’s legally compliant in California, there should be information on exactly what the tenant is responsible for fixing. The lease should state this clearly so there is no confusion.
Check the Property for Damages
Next, you will want to go and inspect the damages. After your tenant has completely vacated the property, you would go inside to do your move-out inspection report. Usually, it’s during this process that a landlord realizes the scope of damage that has been done.
Once you have documented all of the damage with photos, videos, and notes, you need to prepare to have the property fixed. While holding your former tenant accountable for these damages is important, your priority needs to be getting the property back into a condition that will make it rentable again. You’ll need to find new tenants and to do that; you have to repair the home.
Collecting Estimates and Scheduling Work
Hopefully, you have relationships in place already with excellent local contractors and vendors. Ask them to visit the property and assess the damage. The professional opinion you receive from the contractor will help you estimate how much you’ll need to spend on these repairs. We also recommend that you check your insurance policy. You won’t necessarily be covered for any of that damage, but it’s worth checking to see if it fits into the equation.
You must determine the cost of the damages and whether or not the tenant is responsible for paying those costs. If so, you can deduct the cost of repairing that damage from the security deposit. With things like carpet and paint, remember that you must also take into consideration the life span of anything that was damaged.
After that, the owner can then make the final decision to collect the funds from the tenant or to simply let it go. It really will depend on the amount of the damage and whether it’s worth the time and expense to pursue the tenant for damages outside of what the security deposit covers.
We can help you take care of any property damage left behind by tenants. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Sunburst Properties.