In an ideal world, landlords would lease properties to tenants with clear lease agreements that are adhered to by all parties. That way, when the lease term ends, the parties can go their separate ways having both gotten a fair deal.
As idyllic as that sounds, we all know that such outcomes are hard to come by. In fact, lease agreements are breached all the time, which can lead to serious financial losses for one or both parties involved. But if you own real estate in the Boca Raton area, then you need to know what you can do to protect your interests as a landlord. One thing you can do is make sure that you’re properly addressing property damage.
How to handle tenant property damage
It happens all the time. A tenant moves out and you discover that there’s extensive damage to your property. This can be enormously costly for you to repair prior to reletting the space. So, what can you do to prevent this from happening?
- Set a reasonable security deposit: Your tenant should be paying a security deposit upfront at the beginning of the lease term. Make sure that the amount being put down is sufficient to cover damages that might arise.
- Conduct a thorough inspection: Before the tenant moves in, be thorough in assessing the premises so that you have a clear understanding of its condition. This is the only way to accurately gauge what damage has been done later down the road. So, be diligent here, and don’t rush the process.
- Accurately assess value: After your tenant moves out and you assess the damage that’s been done to the premises, you need to accurately calculate your losses. That can be a tough undertaking. To help, though, you can consider factors such as the age and the original cost of the damaged item. You’ll also want to think about how much it’s going to cost to repair the damage. This is important, obviously, because the costs can vary widely depending on the type of damage that has been caused.
- Consider how long it will take to repair: Another important thing to keep in mind is that repairing property damage is going to take some time. This means that during that time period you’ll be unable to re-lease the premises, thereby costing you additional funds. If the damage is severe, then you might struggle to re-lease the premises even after repairs are made.
- Keep records: If you’re going to hit your former tenant with a bill, then you need to be able to justify it. It’s a good idea to get several estimates for the repair work and to keep all receipts for work performed. This way there’s no question that you were diligent in finding the most cost-effective way to deal with the issue at hand.
- Anticipate normal wear and tear: The tenant is probably going to claim that the damage is question is nothing more than normal wear and tear. Try to differentiate the damage in question from such normal wear and tear.
Don’t let tenants take advantage of you
Being a landlord is tough. It can be profitable and rewarding, but you’ll have tenants from time-to-time who will push your buttons and try to take advantage of you. But you can be proactive in protecting your interests. You just need to understand the law, how it applies to your set of circumstances, and how to navigate it to your advantage. That’s not always an easy task, but you can find the support that you need and deserve when you’re facing a landlord-tenant issue.