When you’re a landlord, you have a financial interest in making sure that your rental properties are maintained well and kept in good condition. Not only can it be incredibly frustrating when a tenant causes damage to one of your properties, but it can also result in a loss of rental income for the amount of time it takes you to repair the damages. Today, in part one of a two-part series, we’ll review what constitutes tenant vandalism and provide some tips that may help you avoid dealing with the matter in the future.
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What is Tenant Vandalism?
Before we begin our discussion on tenant vandalism, it is helpful to provide information on what constitutes as vandalism. By its definition, tenant vandalism occurs when a renter destroys or defaces your property without your permission, whether on accident or intentionally. As you might guess, the range of offenses that can be considered vandalism can vary greatly, and may include the following:
- Destruction of Property: Things such as holes in walls, broken windows, and torn or ripped up flooring are examples of tenants destroying property.
- Theft of Property: It’s hard to imagine, but some landlords find themselves dealing with things like stolen appliances, copper plumbing, and other pieces of property.
- Excessive Wear and Tear: It can be challenging to determine normal versus excessive wear and tear, but if the damage seems to be more than what you’d expect from a reasonably prudent tenant, it may constitute vandalism.
Dealing with tenant vandalism is frequently one of the biggest challenges among landlords and property managers, and if you’re currently facing this situation, you may find yourself wondering how you can prevent a repeat occurrence from your next tenant. Now that we have a feel for what types of situations might qualify as vandalism, we’ll explore a few ways you can try to prevent it from happening again.
How to Prevent Tenant Vandalism
If you’ve been a landlord for any significant period of time, you know that it can be challenging to find good tenants. In a prior blog, we provided some tips that may help you find quality tenants, and below, we’ll provide a few tasks that may help protect you from dealing with another tenant vandalism issues in the future.
- Education: Unfortunately, some tenants are more hard on homes than others. To help ensure that you and the tenant are on the same page about what constitutes normal wear and tear, it can be helpful to have a discussion about this with the tenant before he or she moves into the rental. Additionally, some tenants may not believe they are responsible for accidental damage, and informing them verbally that they are will be beneficial.
- Detailed Lease Clauses: It may be necessary to revise your lease agreement to include a clause that specifically addresses tenant vandalism, what constitutes it, and what the ramifications will be for the tenant if it occurs. Your rental agreement is a contract between you and your tenant, and if he or she agrees to its terms and signs it, there is little room for misinterpretation should you be forced to pursue legal action to recover damages down the road.
- Through Move-In Inspections: Before the tenant moves into your rental property, it’s always a good idea to complete an inspection of the home yourself and make note of any pre-existing damages or wear and tear. When you complete the walk through with the tenant, you can point out these areas of concern so that he or she knows you are aware of the homes current condition. Your tenant may be less likely to cause damage if he or she feels that you keep thorough records on the condition of the property.
Rental Property for Sale in Kansas
Dealing with tenant vandalism is never an ideal situation for any home investor. If you find yourself with a damaged rental property on your hands in eastern Kansas, it can be helpful to know what options you have available to you, and in our next blog, we’ll review a few vandalism solutions. For landlords who are considering listing their rental property for sale, Cash 4 Kansas Homes is here to help. We can provide a cash offer on your property and complete the closing process in less than 30 days in most cases, and you won’t have to worry about fees and commissions like you would if you chose to sell the home on the traditional real estate market. Contact us at 913-276-0769 today to learn more!