If you are a veteran of the real estate investment space, you know that you will have a few bad tenants over time. These tenants, whether intentional or not, may do significant damage to your property. When rental property owners invest in Metro Detroit real estate, dealing with tenant damage becomes an expensive problem that damages returns.
Whether a good resident broke something on accident or a bad tenant destroyed something on purpose, apply these expert property management tips to handle the situation while minimizing income loss.
Consult the Lease Agreement About Eviction in Metro Detroit
Let's start with the worst-case scenario first: you have a terrible tenant that caused significant damage to your property and refuses to compensate you for necessary repairs. You've tried everything you can think of (and legally do) to encourage the resident to do the right thing, but they simply refuse to pay up or move out.
It's the last resort, but it might be your best option at this point: consult your lease and follow the law to pursue the eviction process. If you're not sure how to start the process (or you're uncomfortable forcing someone out of the property), work with your legal counsel and a Metro Detroit property management company to handle it for you.
Eviction allows you to remove the root cause of the damage (the tenant), attempt to collect compensation for repairs and get the rental ready to list for a new tenant.
Documentation for Real Estate Is an Essential Tool
When dealing with property damage, documentation is an essential tool to support an eviction or work with your resident to pay for repairs and any penalties outlined in the lease.
Documentation can take the form of written notes to describe the damage, when it happened, when it was reported (or when you noticed it), and your communication with the tenant about it. Hang on to receipts or estimates for repair work.
Property managers in Metro Detroit also recommend supporting written documentation with pictures and videos. Time stamping can help you prove out when the damage took place and help you justify the potential origination point of the damage.
It can be too easy for a tenant to say that they never did any of the damage while they were inside the property. When you document the damage though, it can be much harder for them to fight back against that type of evidence.
Landlords quickly learn that real estate investing in Detroit requires thorough documentation! It can be a key tool in helping recover from property damage.
Send a Notice to Rental Property Tenants
Tenants in your rental homes need to be aware of the damages and your intent to recover from those damages. While phone calls and conversations are important to work through what happens and the steps needed to fix the problem, make sure you also send written notices throughout the conversations.
Written notices also comply with landlord-tenant laws and follow the lease agreement rules. Store all notices in a file for your tenant and the property for reference later.
Apply the Security Deposit (Within the Rules)
The lease agreement should also document how landlords can apply the security deposit to tenant-caused damage. It's a great tool to use when tenants don't cooperate when requesting compensation for damages that are their fault.
If the security deposit does not cover all the damages, it at least gives you a head start to recover some of the repair costs. Make sure you document (with receipts) funds used from the security deposit when applying it to property damage.
Go to Court (if Necessary)
There will be times when you have no other avenue than to go to court with your tenants. In this case, it is always best to have a property management company in Detroit and a legal team by your side that knows your rights, the laws, regulations, and the court process. These experts can help you recover from costly damages to your rental properties and avoid any loopholes or missed opportunities with stubborn tenants who refuse to make the situation right.
Follow the lease agreement and rely on your Detroit property manager and legal counsel for direction. Court proceedings can take a while to complete, and they can be expensive. Follow the rules to avoid a lawsuit from the tenant who damaged your Metro Detroit property!
A Detroit Property Management Company Helps Investors Recover from Tenant Damage
Whether you own one property, a few rentals, or a significant Detroit real estate portfolio, you'll deal with tenant-caused damage at some point. Work with an expert property manager in Detroit to communicate with tenants, handle repairs, and minimize income loss when dealing with this type of situation.
If you're not sure where to start, the team at Own It Detroit is here to help! We have the resources and experience property owners need to manage renters, keep properties safe, and maximize returns. Reach out when you're ready to talk with one of our seasoned property management professionals!
Learn everything you need to know about keep rental and investment income safe! Download our free resource, "Protecting Your Investment Property: A Guide."