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What To Do When Your Tenant Damages Your Property

Damage to a rental property can be a huge headache for a landlord. This is not only because it can compromise the profitability of your investment, but because it can also result in further damage to the home. Tenant damage can also lead to disputes and disagreements between owners and tenants. Below are some options you have in the event that you run into this situation. We’ve also included some advice to follow to resolve the situation in the event that your tenant neglects to notify you of damage to the home or refuses to pay for repair the damage they have caused. These situations can be very complicated and require a great deal of attention and care.

Document Everything

The first step would be to differentiate between long-term wear and tear and acute, actual damage. You should also document everything thoroughly, as this will act as evidence and justification for the steps you take and in case of a lawsuit. Take high-resolution photos of the property, documents your attempt to inform the tenant of their responsibilities,  and be sure to quote contractors for the necessary repairs. As an additional piece of advice, landlords should know the law and what it says about handling such disputes.

Negotiate With the Tenant

While tenant damage can be frustrating, you should consider negotiating a deal with the tenant depending on their history of good behavior and whether the damage appears to be accidental. If they accept responsibility for their actions, the problem can be solved easily. However, you should make sure the agreed-upon plan is thoroughly documented.

Deduct From the Security Deposit

If you obtain a security deposit before the tenant moved in, you can deduct the cost of repairs from this amount. This would be one of the options if you cannot come to an agreement or the tenant cannot afford the repairs.

File For Eviction

You can consider filing for eviction in case the tenant becomes aggressive, is consistently unable to meet their financial responsibility or is posing a serious threat to the property. However, this process can be slow and complicated, making it important to ensure it is the best option before you proceed. Be sure to handle the situation calmly and respectfully, only calling the police in case of a violent episode. You should also brush up on California eviction laws before advising the tenant or contacting law enforcement.

Cash For Keys

This option involves offering the tenant a given sum of money to leave the property peacefully. The option helps to cut losses and avoid further damage to the property.

Consider Filing a Civil Suit

It is important to use your best judgment during this period. In the event that the cost of repairs is exorbitant but the tenant cannot or will not pay for it, you can consider filing a civil lawsuit.

What To Do If The Tenant Is Non-Responsive

There may be times when a tenant vanishes or is non-responsive. Depending on the nature and extent of the damage, you may hire an attorney and take legal action. You may also consider filing an insurance claim since your policy should cover rental damage.

There are a number of steps that landlords can take to minimize tenancy issues. One of the best ways is to take an inventory at the beginning of each tenancy. You should also consider working with a real estate management company. If you are tired of dealing with difficult tenants, give us a call! AllView Real Estate Management is Orange County’s premier property management and investment firm. We offer not only exceptional property management, but also real estate investment consulting and management. Call us at (949) 400-4275 or send us an email at for real estate investment expertise.

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