Property Management Blog

What to Do When my Tenant Damages my Rental Property – Nashville Landlord Advice

Beverly Browning - Tuesday, May 24, 2016


As a rental property owner, you will probably inspect the home periodically, and you need to decide what to do if you find tenant damage during the course of your inspections. Most owners are initially inclined to evict the tenants and complain about how terrible they are. We encourage you to take a step back and a deep breath. Think about it before you evict or get upset.

Are the Tenants Good Tenants?

If the tenant is otherwise reliable and responsible, you might want to consider that before making a hasty decision. Tenants who pay rent on time, stay in a property for several years and co-exist with neighbors peacefully are good tenants. If there’s damage, that damage is already done. You’ll have to make that repair at some point anyway. But if you have a good tenant in place, you might want to let them stay.

Example: Pet Damage

Once we had a tenant who had several cats and the cats had damaged the carpet. We called the property owner and explained that at the end of the lease, he’d have to replace the carpet, seal the subfloors and maybe replace some of those floors. But the damage had been done. The owner knew about it and the tenant had been there for a couple of years already. That tenant ended up renting for over seven years. So when the tenant moved out, we did all the work of replacing the carpet and sealing the subfloor. But the owner didn’t have any vacancy expenses or turnover expenses over that time. So, the bottom line was his expenses were less by letting that tenant stay.

Use the Security Deposit

When you have a case of tenant damage, you can deduct the repair or replacement cost from the security deposit. Let the tenants know that they will be responsible for paying anything that exceeds the security deposit. You can even get an estimate and let them know what it will cost. If you want, you can ask for additional security deposit funds in exchange for letting them stay in the property.

Don’t make a hasty decision. Sometimes it is more advantageous to you to let that tenant stay. If you have any questions, please contact us at Browning Gordon Property Management.