13 Dec Tenant Damages
It’s every landlord’s worst nightmare, an angry tenant damages or destroys their San Diego rental property. What would you do if you discovered your rental property had been damaged by a tenant through ill will or an accident? Damage to a rental property can cause quite the headache for a landlord. From pinot noir spills all over your carpets to scratches all over the hardwood floors. Who pays? The landlord, or the tenant? While tenants may not be responsible for normal wear and tear in a rental property, they are responsible for damage that occurs by accident or on purpose. However, the line between normal wear and tear and damage can be a difficult line to draw. As a general rule, normal wear and tear is gradual and unavoidable. And, damage is caused by avoidable accidents, or intentional damage by the tenant.
Disclaimer: This information is for advisory purposes only. We recommend you consult with an attorney familiar with current federal, state and local laws.
What Exactly Is Normal Wear and Tear?
Defining normal wear and tear is a process. That’s because property wear and tear can mean one thing to you and something very different to your tenants. Normal wear and tear is the physical deterioration that occurs with normal use. Normal wear and tear generally excludes a tenants’ or their guests’ negligence. For instance rental property damage occurs out of carelessness, accidents, or abuse of the rental property. Normal wear and tear can often be difficult to define. For this reason, we offer some insight below.
- Normal: faded paint
- Excessive Damage: drawings, or crayon markings on walls
- Normal: carpet faded or worn thin from walking
- Excessive Damage: holes, stains, or burns in carpet, food stains, pet urine stains, or stains from drinks being spilt are never “normal”
- Normal: scuffed varnish on wood floors from regular use
- Excessive Damage: chipped or gouged wood floors, or excessive scraps from pet nails
What To Do When A Tenant Trashes Your Property
No matter how carefully you screen tenants, there is always the chance that one of them will end up damaging your rental property. The bottom line, if a tenant breaks something in your rental, it’s damage. If a tenant puts a hole in the wall, it’s damage. And, if a tenant burns holes in your carpet, scratches your hardwood floors, or worse destroys your kitchen while cooking, it’s damage. In a worst-case scenario, a tenant could rack up more in property damages than their security deposit. The reality is, damage to your rental property can occur in a number of different ways. From plumbing problems caused by tenants putting things down drains and toilets, to having to replace high-end faux flooring. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to mitigate any further damage.
What to do When A Tenant Damages your San Diego Rental Property
When a tenant causes damage beyond normal wear and tear, as a landlord, you have the right to charge your tenant for the costs to repair or replace the damaged item. This can include damages by the tenants, their guests, or pets. There are also ways to prevent confusion over what constitutes damage versus normal wear and tear. We offer some insight below.
- Proper Maintenance: and clear tenant expectations
- Walk Through Inspections: walk through your property with tenants prior to move in and make note of existing issues
- Move In: take pictures to document the current condition of your rental property
- Move Out: you and your tenant should walk through the property together which helps you document any changes to the condition of your rental property
- Document Everything: documentation is key to protecting your rental property
When In Doubt
The best way to deal with tenants damaging your property is to let someone else deal with them or prevent it altogether! Hire a property management company to do the work for you. We will preform a move-in and move-out inspection with detailed pictures and a signed document to ensure you are covered! Whether you are interested in changing property managers, or simply looking to hire a property management company for the first time, Rancho Mesa Properties can help. We take care of all types of residential rental properties including homes, condos, multiplexes such as duplex and triplexes, and even small apartment buildings. Let us manage your rental properties, so you can enjoy your life! Call us today at (858) 576-2176. We will save you time, money, and the stress that comes along with managing your own rentals.