Tenant Damage & Repairs
This Is A Summary Page
The below topics are discussed in much more depth
on our members' Tenant Damage & Repairs page.
Tenants Should Pay for Damage They Cause
When tenants damage something in their rental unit it is usually preferable for them to call the landlord's maintenance staff to fix it, rather than try to make the repair themselves.
A Lease Clause Can Help
When tenants damage something in their rental unit they must expect to pay for it without arguing and getting angry about it. Having a lease clause telling tenants that you expect them to pay for any damage that occurs while they are in possession of the property will reduce arguments when you send them the repair bill.
Charge Reasonable Amount
Be sure to charge a fair and reasonable amount for any repair or replacement. Always consider the cost of tenant turnover, compared to the amount of money involved in any dispute.
Lease s Should include certain clauses
Tenant shall maintain the rented property is as good condition as when taken .
Tenant shall r eport all needed repairs.
Tenant shall pay for any damage that is not ordinary wear and tear.
Help Tenants Help You
In order to minimize chance of appliance damage due to improper use and to remove ignorance as an excuse, give residents the instruction manuals for the air conditioner, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher, garbage disposal, stove, and other appliances.
Most state landlord tenant law does not allow charges for ordinary wear and tear; charge tenants only for damage caused by misuse or neglect
Enforcing the Lease Clause
When a tenant calls about a problem, create a written report explaining what the tenant believes caused the problem. If the tenant admits to causing the damage, it should be noted on the maintenance request. It's important that the maintenance person write all relevant facts down at the time of the visit in case the tenant later disputes it and you need to prove the damage in court.
Follow up every maintenance visit with a letter to tenant the next day. It should explain the tenant's responsibility for the repair or replacement of the item. Describe the cause of the damage, and site your lease clause that says the tenant is responsible under the lease for any damage to the apartment or an appliance due to misuse or neglect.
If the tenant doesn't pay for the cost of repairs within a few days, the lease clause gives you the right to charge the resident the amount as "additional rent" for the next month,
Send Collection Letter for Damage
RHOL provides sample letters for members.
The above topics are discussed in more depth on
our members' Tenant Damage & Repairs page.