Tenant Destroyed My House: What To Do?

What should you do if a tenant stays in your house, destroys it and does not take responsibility for it?

It is normal for you to be mad and furious. But, keep in mind that you have to keep your head calm and make your tenant liable for the destruction.

There are some essential stages that you must follow to make your tenant cooperative and responsible.

Is your House already destroyed? Then you should look into what to do after your house being destroyed by the tenant.

Before you hand over your property to another person, you must perform some arrangements. These measures mainly relate to keeping proofs and making the residents aware of their responsibility.

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What to do Before Handing Over

1. High Definition Photos and Videos. The foremost thing to be done before handing over your property is to document the condition before the handover. It is better if the recordings are in high definition. Moreover, it is a good idea to use a camera with a timestamp to increase its validity.

2.  Security Deposit. When a tenant moves into your house, make them pay you a security deposit along with the payment of the first month. Create a proper record of the amount and have it approved and signed by both you and your tenant. The amount and reason for collecting the security deposit may vary from state to state.

A good back-ground check on your tenant will go a long way to to preventing problems.
A good back-ground check on your tenant will go a long way to to preventing problems.

3.  Proper Background and Credit Card Screening. This process is essential if you want to reduce the chance of getting your house damaged. A background investigation will help you to determine if your tenant has any previous assault activity or aggressive behaviour. You should conduct a proper enquiry on whether the person was evicted or left their former home willingly.

The reason behind the credit card screening is because it will give you an idea of the tenant’s income. If their income is lower than the rent along with the other payments, then this should give you a signal that this is not the right tenant. Also, you can have an idea if your new occupant pays their dues on time.

4.  Clear Understanding. What you don’t want is to be in a position where your house gets destroyed. For that, you have to make your tenant understand how serious you are about that and the fines for such an incident.

Your new tenant might be from a different state. So, sit with them. Go through the laws regarding the penalty according to the rule of where you are.

What to do During a Tenancy

Do not think that your responsibility is over after you have conducted the initial checks and rented the house?

You always have to remind your tenant that you are observing the condition of your property. Mentioning it will help by keeping the resident alert. During your inspection, you must follow the law of your state and let your tenant know in advance when you will be coming. This inspection can be done once every two to three months.

In the case that you are not personally able to conduct the inspection, it is a wise idea to ask a vendor to perform the check on your behalf.

What to do After the Tenant Destroyed your House

Even after so much precaution, there is a chance that you will face some setback and your tenant ends up destroying your home. It is a serious issue, and you must precisely know what action to take.

1.  Gather and Compare Photos and Videos. Now, the photos and videos you took earlier come to play. You must immediately take picture and video evidence of the damaged and destroyed property. Compare and ask the tenant to provide you with reimbursement if you have already paid for its fixture. Also, through comparison, you can accurately measure the extent of the damage. The main aim of the photos and videos will be to make the tenant liable for his actions and have proof supporting your claim.

negotiate with the tenant
Give clearer heads a chance to prevail. Talk to the tenant about security deposit, correcting the errors, and a financial resolution. Being reasonable and civil may result in a “win win”.

2.  Come to a negotiation. However you feel, it is vital that you keep yourself calm. The most effective way for you to get out of this challenging situation is to sit together with your tenant and come to a negotiation. If your occupant accepts his error, then you should try helping him with how to fix it. You can give them the number of the person they should talk to for fixing this. If they are not financially stable, you can make arrangement for setting it yourself now, and send them the bill and assign a term for paying it. Whatever option you choose all these should be documented and have the agreements signed by both you and your tenant.

3.  Deduct from the security deposit. Remember the security deposit you took along with the rent for the first month. It is the perfect time to make use of it. If your tenant is unable to pay you the money, then you may take the amount from the security deposit. But, the whole procedure must follow per the law. You have to keep all the records of the expenses that you incurred in fixing the damage. Based on the evidence of the costs, you can claim more if the deposited amount does not cover it. On the other hand, if after payment there is still money left from the security deposit then it is to be returned to the tenant.

4.  Contact Local Authority. One thing you must always remember is to keep as much documentation of the event as possible. Among this documentation, the most important one is that made by the local authority. The value of this document is at the top, whenever taking any legal action.

If you want to file a claim or go for insurance, then the report provided here is compulsory.

5.  Insurance Policy. If the damage sustained is massive, then it is a good idea to file an insurance claim for your loss. Contact with your landlord insurance provider. Make sure of one thing that, before the insurance officer comes for estimating the damage, do not make any repairs. Also, you need to provide the insurance officer with the document produced by the local authority.

6.  Contact a Lawyer. Is your tenant refusing to pay for the damages caused by him? If that’s the case, then things need to be carefully handled. You can take legal action which will require you to hire a lawyer. But, keep in mind

eviction attorney
If all else fails, contact an attorney to begin the process of evicting the tenant.

that if you go for a lawyer, then it means that you will have additional expense. If the damage is worth only a couple of bucks, it is better to settle for the little extra cost. But, if the loss you suffered is tremendous and you already know from reviewing his credit card information that he is able. Then you should go for legal action if the tenant is refusing to pay for the damage done by him.

7.  Eviction. Consider this your last phase of action. If after you confront your tenant, he behaves aggressively and violently with you and keeps on damaging your property, then it calls for a more serious approach. You have to be extremely careful and deal with the situation calmly and respectfully so that the tenant does not feel more offended.

If still, the situation goes out of your control, then this is the time for calling the police. The law enforcement department will aid you in stopping your tenant’s violent behaviour and if necessary arrest him. Also, with all the documentation you have collected, you would easily win favour in the court.

Though not very common but still there are such cases where tenants are responsible for destroying your property. Feel free to comment below on any suggestion you may have.

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