Who Pays for Damages? How to Handle Difficult Tenants

By Own It Detroit

Owning Detroit investment properties can be a lot to handle, especially if you want to maintain best-in-class status. One of the essential aspects of maintaining such high acclaim as an investor is to keep your properties in excellent condition. Sometimes this may come easily, but often it requires a bit of work. 

A Detroit property management team can help since it can be challenging to maintain rental properties if you own more than one property or if your tenants are rougher on your properties than normal "wear and tear."

However, when encountering damage, how can property owners know when tenants should pay for it vs. covering it as a repair that's an owner's responsibility? Working with the best property management company Detroit offers is the best way to know!

Here are a few insights to help ensure that you aren't paying for items that are not your responsibility when a tenant should cover the cost of the damages. 

Maintenance Issues: Is it Tenant Neglect or Landlord Responsibility?

Knowing the difference between tenant neglect and property owner responsibilities requires seasoned experts like the crew at Own It Detroit. We are equipped to gauge what is truly your responsibility as a landlord and make sure you don't get charged for anything extra.

Experienced property managers know maintenance problems can arise throughout a tenant's residency. When a tenant calls the office or submits an online maintenance request reporting a need for service, we respond promptly to determine the cause of the issue and how to repair it. In other cases, a landlord may identify maintenance issues after the tenant moves out. 

Either way, a competent property manager with Detroit investment properties can sort out the costs that are your responsibility and the expenses that should fall back on the resident. 

What Are Typical Rental Property Maintenance Issues?

Some maintenance issues may involve tasks that you do regularly during a mid-lease inspection. However, the tenant may discover others.

Close up of woman hands typing on laptop suffering water leaks falling on a pot

Typical maintenance issues can include:

  • Water is leaking under the sink.

  • The faucet constantly drips.

  • A major appliance is not operating properly (refrigerator, stove, oven, dishwasher, etc.).

  • HVAC issues (furnace or air conditioning not working correctly).

  • The toilet runs.

  • Electrical issues.

  • Garbage disposal doesn't work. 

  • The water heater does not dispense hot water.

These tasks are just a few of the issues that could occur during their leasing period. Unless there is a clear indication that a tenant caused these problems, most of the issues fall under a landlord's responsibility to fix and cover the costs. 

How We Handle Tenant Neglect or Damage

An experienced property management company knows when damage or maintenance issues are due to tenants. They also know how to handle difficult tenants that cause damage but refuse to pay for it.  

When we receive a maintenance request, Own It Detroit evaluates the situation and who is responsible for the damage. Our qualified maintenance experts can determine if it is normal wear and tear or excessive tenant-caused damage. 

If a tenant makes the maintenance request, and we determine the tenant is to blame by way of negligence, our property management team will be sure the property owner is protected. Our staff will calculate the charges for the repairs and chargeback that amount to the tenant.

When they are ready to move out, this charge will be taken out of their security deposit, if not sooner. 

How We Handle Landlord Repairs

In some circumstances, the maintenance problem may be your responsibility as the owner. However, for general upkeep or problems that fall under maintaining a safe and liveable home for renters, we will notify you in advance of any work above the $300 maintenance escrow threshold.

When maintenance costs exceed $300, we request consent from property owners before conducting the repair. Next, we schedule and perform the repair. Finally, we will send you an invoice for the costs. You'll also get photos of the repair before and after it is completed.

Repairs After a Tenant Moves Out

When a tenant moves out of your property, it's an ideal time to make upgrades and repairs before new tenants move in. The length of time a tenant lived in the home can determine the extent of the work needed on the property between residents.

Young attractive married couple in love buying or renting new apartment

Own It Detroit can help determine which items are your responsibility and which ones the tenant damaged during their lease. For example, if the tenant has been living in the home for several years, replacing the carpeting as a routine make-ready update might make sense. 

However, suppose a tenant only lived in the home for one year, and you had just put in the new carpeting before they moved in. When they move out, you notice the carpet is badly damaged and stained. The tenant would be held responsible for the carpet replacement costs. 

Manage Repair Costs With the Best Property Management Company Detroit Has to Offer

One of the best ways to avoid dealing with property maintenance issues is to partner with a property management company with experience in maintenance, damage, and tenants! Own It Detroit delivers experienced maintenance services to property owners and investors in the Detroit area. We can help you navigate property damages while also going above and beyond in providing excellent services to your tenants during their lease terms. 

Learn more about finding the ideal property manager for your rentals! Download a free copy of the "Guide to Finding the Best Property Management Company in Detroit."

Download the Guide

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