What to Do When Your Tenant Damages the Property

Anyone who has ever served as a landlord likely understands that renting out property is rarely a walk in the park. Landlords often get a bad reputation due to a select few who take advantage of their perceived position of power over their renters, but there are just as many, if not more tenants who abuse the property, break the law, fail to pay rent, and take advantage of the landlord’s kindness.

Both tenants and landlords have rights they are entitled to and obligations to one another which they must fulfill. Thus, as a landlord, when a tenant fails to fulfill his or her obligations, there are legal remedies available to help you resolve the situation.

This is certainly true of the all-too-common scenario of having a tenant damage your property. Damaged property is one of the biggest causes for disputes between landlords and tenants. These situations can be complex since Florida landlords are obligated to maintain an environment that is fit to be lived in, and they are responsible for ensuring that the rental property has certain things like running plumbing with hot water, structural integrity, security in the form appropriate doors, windows, and locks, etc. A tenant may assert that it is the landlord’s responsibility to repair damages to the property, particularly if they impact the livability if the home.

It is the tenant’s responsibility, however, to not damage the property beyond normal wear and tear, to keep the property clean, and to appropriately maintain the plumbing. Thus, responsibility for repairing property damage generally comes down to determining the cause of the damage.

When any damage occurs to a rental property, the landlord must appropriately determine which party is obligated to pay for the repair. You should always re-read your lease and ensure that it is the tenant’s responsibility before you take any action. You may also wish to have an attorney that is well-versed in tenant-landlord law review the circumstances and advise you on whether the repairs are your responsibility or your tenant’s.

Once it is clear that the tenant has violated his or her lease and obligations, and that he or she is responsible for the damage, you must notify the tenant in writing of the problem and the requirements for fixing the problem. Then, you must give them time to remedy the situation.

Only after appropriately notifying your tenant of his or her obligation to repair the damage that has been done and giving them appropriate time to fix the issue can you take action to evict the tenant. At this point, you must still adhere to all legal obligations with regard to a tenant eviction.

If you are a landlord whose property has been damaged by your tenants, it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney before taking any action. Contact the Law Office of Ray Garcia today and let us fight to ensure your property and your rights as a landlord are protected.