You are horrified to know that your tenant destroyed your property. The first thing you feel is outraged for such an irresponsible behaviour. However, before you take any further action, it is best to bear in mind these important things that you should do when this happens. Most of the time, tenants start destroying the property of their landlord following an eviction proceeding. For some reasons, it could be due to personal grudges, conflicts or other cases of irresponsible behaviour. They could do horrible things to your property from destroying appliance, breaking the window, smashing the tub and sink, punching holes in the wall and tearing up the carpets. When these things happen you need to know exactly what to do in order to make your tenant liable.
Make your tenant liable for property damage
In order to protect your interest, it is essential to include in your tenancy contract a clause that holds your tenant liable for any damaged they provide to the property. This may also take the form of a rental unit condition agreement where there is a statement of inventory for all the property condition before your tenant moves in. Make another inventory at the end of the tenancy period to monitor the condition of your property when your tenant is about to leave. This process will encourage your tenants to become more responsible in taking care of your property despite any ill feelings about you.
Gather evidence and secure a documentation process
Proving the property damage require documentation. That is why you need to be quick in gathering evidence of the damage caused to your property. Take photos and videos of your damaged property. Additionally you might want to take pictures of your property prior to renting it out to show the before and after conditions. They will be useful in establishing the extent of damage and liability caused by your tenant. It is recommended to use cameras with a time stamp in it for more accurate documentation process. Gather all receipts that you have spent for the repair as well. This will be important when seeking reimbursement from your tenant for actual expenses. Once your property is restored in good condition, do not waste time waiting to searching for new tenants in order to avoid longer vacancy periods because means loss profits.
Apply the security deposit
You can apply the cost of repairs against the security deposit that was paid in advance by your tenant. In order to determine whether the amount involved is enough or insufficient, keep a record of all the expenses incurred in the repair. This will help you determine whether there is an excess amount from the security deposit that you withheld or you have the right to demand for a deficiency from the tenant. Remember that in Florida you have 15 days to return a tenant’s security deposit or 30 days to give the tenant a written notice by certified mail of your intention to claim on the deposit and the reason for imposing the claim. Establishing the expenses is important for the determination on whether you need to refund a certain amount to the tenant or to seek for the deficiency instead.
Resort to legal means
A civil procedure may be necessary in some cases, especially when your tenant refuses to settle for the damages they caused to your property. However, it is worth noting that the court process may entail additional expenses, such as hiring a lawyer and paying for other fees. Moreover, when your tenant is incapable of paying for the restitution of your property expenses, it is unlikely that you can enforce your claim against them should they be declared as insolvent. An amicable settlement is probably a more practical means of resolving the conflict in this case.
Recover from your insurance policy
If the extent of the damage is extensive, you can file a claim with your insurance policy to cover the damages. Call your insurance before doing any repairs as they might send out an inspector to create an estimate to repair the damages. Police report is usually necessary, so make sure to secure the same after you discover that your property was destroyed by your tenant.
Report the incident to the local authorities
A police report regarding the incident of destroying the property by your tenant is crucial because it is one of the documentations required to support your claim for civil indemnity in court or from your insurance policy. Taking this action should be a protocol for every landlord even if they do not intend on filing any charges to their tenants at the time of the incident. This can be a useful piece of evidence in the future in case you find it necessary to charge the tenant later on.
The best course of action is the one that prevents this altogether. Always prequalify your tenants by doing a background checks and credit checks. If a potential tenant has had previous evictions theres probably a good reason for it and you don’t want to take the risk of having to do the same. Also make sure your tenants can afford to rent your property on average they should have 3 times their rent. Finally conduct regular property inspections every 3-6 months. When your tenant knows you’ll be coming around they tend to take better care of your property.
If you don’t even want to deal with any of this after a tenant has damaged your properties please give us a call. We can purchase your property as-is, pay for all the fees and you can walk away stress free. Give us a call today and you could be moving on from this stress in as a little as 9 days.