A lot of landlords hesitate to rent out a property because they worry about the damage that a tenant can do to it. They don’t want to deal with the time and expense involved in getting it back into shape. This is an understandable concern.

Luckily, extreme tenant damage rarely happens, and if it does, the security deposit usually covers the cost of repairing your San Jose home. You can also mitigate this risk by working with a professional property management company. But, you never know how tenants are going to behave, so you need to know what happens during the tenancy if a tenant damages your property. We’re talking about this today.

Implement a Strong Lease Agreement

Having a strong lease protects you in a number of ways, including when property damage is detected at your property. So, check your lease. It should clearly state what happens when property damage is caused by your tenants. This is the written documentation you’ll need to hold your tenants accountable for the cost of repairing that damage.

Property Damage During Move-Out Inspections

If your tenant did not elect to have a pre-move out inspection, you probably won’t notice the damage until you show up at the property to conduct the move-out inspection. Take a lot of pictures and videos, and keep notes that reflect what you’re seeing. You’ll need to be able to compare the property’s condition now to the way it looked before a tenant moved in.

As soon as you see that damage has been done, focus on getting the place repaired. Contacting the tenant and collecting the money that’s needed for repairs is important, but getting that property back on the rental market is even more important.

Collecting Estimates and Scheduling Work

It will help if you already have relationships in place with reliable vendors and contractors who can respond to your work requests quickly. They should be willing to come out to your property and estimate how much it will cost to get everything repaired. This will help you prepare your itemized list of deductions which will justify why you keep the security deposit. Check and see if your insurance will cover any of the damage as well.

Once you have determined that your tenant is responsible for all or some of the costs, you can keep as much as you need out of their security deposit. You’ll need to let them know how much you are keeping and why. Remember to consider the life span of things like paint and carpet before you put together your itemized list of deductions from the security deposit.

Collecting Estimates and Scheduling WorkNext, we’ll talk to owners about whether we want to collect any additional funds from the tenant, or if it’s better to let it go and move on. It depends on the amount of damage that’s still outstanding and whether we’re likely to collect any of that money from the tenants.

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 Real Estate Connections.