Dealing with Rental Home Damage in Fort LauderdaleIn most jurisdictions, the laws state renters must take reasonable care of a property. This does not include normal wear and tear but it does mean tenants are responsible to keep the property in livable condition and in the same manner it was when first leased. So, if a tenant drills holes in the wall to mount a television, he or she must patch those holes when moving out. However, you as the rental property owner must keep the components and systems in good order.
It’s every landlord’s worst nightmare—a hostile, angry tenant who destroys the property because he or she is mad about eviction proceedings. Tenants like this figure they have nothing to lose and get revenge on the mean landlord by causing thousands of dollars in damage to the structure and breaking or stealing appliances. From smashing windows, tearing up carpet, punching holes in the walls and ripping out appliances, an angry tenant can really cause damage to the rental. When faced with this situation, landlords have few options. —Rent PrepSo, if the central air conditioner goes completely out, it’s you who must replace it. Even though the terms of the lease are in writing, it doesn’t necessarily give you the right to do what you want when you find rental home damage. It’s got to be addressed for you to make it presentable to rent out or sell. For instance, if you discover junk left strewn around the house and the tenant has vacated, you cannot just toss it out. It is still legally their property and you have an obligation to hold onto it (at least for a time). While landlord tenant law differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, there are some general rules of thumb for dealing with rental home damage:
- Document everything. Your first step is to document all the damage. If you have pictures of the property before you rented it, that’s great news. But don’t neglect this if you don’t have any pre-rental pictures. Be sure to capture everything and create a detailed list. You can then get repair estimates from contractors to include with your other documentation.
- Speak with an attorney. If the damage is extensive, you should consult a real estate attorney about what to do and what not to do. Depending on the circumstances, you might learn it’s worthwhile to pursue legal action or to take an alternative route. Be aware there is no legal magic wand and this could cost you money.
- Hire a junk removal service. Once you know where you stand legally, if it’s okay, hire a junk removal service to haul it away. Once again, do not throw out the tenant’s property if your are legally obligated to hold onto it in your particular jurisdiction.
- Make any necessary repairs. The next step is to make any repairs to get the property ready to rent again or to sell. Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to withhold part of most of the security deposit.