When Your Tenant Moves Out, Who Pays for Damages?
Wear and tear on a home and its belongings is to be expected over the course of normal day-to-day living. It can be a fine line, though when it comes to determining what is part of usage and what is excessive damage. While you don’t want to make your tenant pay for damages that they did not inflict, you also do not want to pay for something that is not your responsibility either. The best way to tackle this common issue is to make sure that you document everything.
Before the Tenant Moves In
Even before a tenant moves in — whether it is your first tenant or your 100th — you need to thoroughly document every inch of your home. Take pictures of each room as well as the placement of items such as appliances and beds within the rooms. Also be sure to include any issues that are already present in the home such as stains or items in need of repair. In addition to these photos, make judicious use of checklists that allow you to provide written notice of any problem areas.
Don’t Forget the Details
While it is vital to get lots of pictures of the big areas, don’t forget to zoom in on the details as well. Taking pictures of the condition and serial number of the appliances as well as any floor or window coverings or linens establishes their presence within the home before your tenant spends the night there.
Schedule a Walk Through
Before you turn over the keys to your tenant, insist on a walk through of the home together. Point out to your tenant that this step is designed to protect both of you since each of your memories might become less reliable over time. Make a note of any existing damage or issues on a checklist that you both sign off on. Ensure that both of you get a copy of this document and encourage your tenant to put it with other important papers.