What to Do When a Tenant's Damage Exceeds the Amount of the Security DepositWhether you’ve been a landlord for a long period of time, or you’re just starting out, it is a given that when you have tenants renting a property, there is the possibility that something is going to be damaged at one time or another. In most cases, your property – along with the systems and appliances – will eventually need repair or replacement due to common wear and tear. But what happens if your tenant’s damage is so destructive that the amount of the damage exceeds the security deposit?

While this is not a pleasant situation to be in, the good news is that you may not be stuck with paying the additional cost.

In order to ensure that you’ve protected yourself, it is important that you take steps to do so at the very beginning of your transactions with the tenant. This means that you have a clause that is written into the lease that notifies the tenant that he or she will be responsible for damage and destruction that is over and above the normal deterioration.

It is also key to take “before” pictures of your property prior to the tenant moving in. These photos should include all of the appliances and systems, as well as the walls, windows, doors, and flooring in the home.

If it comes to pass that your tenant has left behind a long list of repairs for you to deal with, then you’ll need to ensure that you document everything. You should also obtain estimates on how much it will cost to repair and / or replace the damaged items.

After you have completed your list of the damages, as well as the expense for the repairs, send a bill to your tenant for the amount of the difference between the security deposit and the total cost.

Unfortunately, having destructive tenants can take up a great deal of your time and effort, when you could instead be focusing on other things. Having an experienced property manager on your team can allow you to step away from the day-to-day activities related to your properties, but still benefit from the income that comes in.

For more details on how partnering with a property manager in the Orlando and Central Florida area can benefit you, Contact Us.