As a landlord, you want to keep your property habitable and clean with as little stress as possible. Sometimes, tenants leave small holes or scuffs in your property–these are easy and quick to fix. However, sometimes tenants trash your property, leaving you with hundreds (even thousands) of dollars of damage to repair and refuse to pay. While running the proper background checks help to weed many nightmare tenants out, there are many that work their way in. If you are stuck in such an awful situation, we have advice for you.
Getting Your Tenant to Pay For Their Damages
What to Do When You Discover Property Damage
Record All Damages
At the first sign of any trouble at your property, be sure to take pictures or video to document the damage. Make sure it has the time and date so you can prove it wasn’t recorded before the tenant moved in. You will even want to save voicemail and email correspondence with the tenant(s). This is extremely important, as the documentation of damage will prove useful as evidence if payment cannot be settled out of court.
Estimate the Cost of the Damages
After documenting everything, get estimates for how much the damage will cost to repair. If the tenant’s security deposit is not enough to cover the costs, send your tenant a list of the repairs and the cost of each. If the tenant refuses to pay for those repairs, this is when it’s time to seek legal action.
Legal For a Tenant Damage Dispute
Typically, cases of landlords seeking restitution from tenants are settled in civil court. As soon as a tenant refuses to pay, seek legal action, do not give them any leniency. You don’t want to be out the money or unable to rent out a unit for months because you were waiting for the promised money to never arrive. Seek out an experienced and trusted landlord attorney who can put together evidence to support your claims in civil court.