Your beautiful rented property has been damaged, vandalized: somebody, your tenant or his/her buddies repeatedly spilled red wine on your freshly painted walls (you pray is just red wine and not something else). The sinks, the toilet bowl, and the bathtub are broken, the shower head is missing, kitchen backsplash was hammered, some carpets are burned, other terribly stained, and other just missing completely.
When renting your property you will probably face situations in which your tenant accidentally or purposely neglects or damages your house. In such cases, it’s your tenant’s legal obligation to cover the cost of repair.
We have identified a couple of situations in which damages or excessive filth require for the tenant to pay for the repairs or cleaning.
- Cigarette burns on carpet, curtains, or flooring
- Sticky surfaces
- Large holes, marks, or gouges in the wall
- Broken blinds
- Broken tiles or flooring
- Scratches on hardwood
- Rips and large stains that are not due to normal wear and tear
- Water damage from plants
- Grime in bathtub or toilet from lack of cleaning
- Cracked toilets or failing to flush properly because of objects that shouldn’t have been flushed
- Doors that have been removed from their hinges
If you’re reading this you probably already have a problematic tenant that is refusing to pay for the repairs and this means that you most likely will have to take them to court in order to recuperate damages. This means extra money, beyond all the repairs you have to make. Costs such as court costs, filing fees, attorney fees and process server fees will start piling up for you. The future is even darker if your former tenant didn’t have the money to pay your rent. How will they be able to pay the damage and all the costs related to the litigation if they could not even cover their rent?
Don’t start repairing the property before filing a claim with your insurance policy to cover the damages. The insurer might send an inspector to evaluate the damages. They usually ask for the police report. But you probably have it since you went to court.
Sounds painful and complicated, isn’t it? So you may wonder if you have any other options if tenant destroyed your property.
The answer is yes, at least three:
1. Start over
Bite the bullet, give up the trial, repair the house and rent it again. This time be more cautious. Specify in the rental agreement that the tenant is responsible for any damage of the property beyond the normal wear and tear. Make an inventory of the household and check it at the end of the lease contract. Do periodic property inspection, we recommend every 3 to 6 months. Take pictures before or make a video to be able to have proof of the property condition at the beginning of the lease.
2. Fix it and sell it
The second option is to renovate the house and prepare it to be sold on the market. Look at the new trends in the real estate market and try to make the house as marketable as possible. Account for curb appeal as that’s one of the first impressions a potential buyer has. Of course, this option requires extra money up front, first to renovate and then to beautify it. List it with a real estate agent or sell it by owner and if all goes smoothly in 60-90 days your house could be sold, maybe. It’s important to remember that during this time you will be responsible for any holding cost like the mortgage, HOA fees, yard maintenance, and utilities.
3. Sell it as-is to an Frederick Cash Buyer
The third option that will not require money from your pocket, money that you might not have is selling to a home cash buyer, NoCo House Buyers Inc for example and sell the house as is. No repairs are required. No extra money will be needed. No new problems to face if you don’t choose the right contractor. No DIY projects after work, no long hours as a handyman. You will get a quick and fair deal and you will be able to forget the nightmare of your last lease.