There’s nothing more frustrating for landlords and property managers than trying to figure out how to repair damages caused by a tenant. Not only is repairing a home time consuming, but the lost rental income and the amount of repairs can oftentimes be very costly. In our last blog, we provided a brief introduction to tenant vandalism and some tips on how you can attempt to avoid it. Once it happens, many landlords find themselves scrambling for a solution, and today, in part two of this series, we’ll review a few options that are available to you if you find yourself with a damaged rental property.
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Imagine you enter your rental property after the tenant vacates and discover that he or she has caused substantial damage. While you may at first feel confused and overwhelmed, there are solutions, and below, we’ll review a few of them.
Consider Filing an Insurance Claim
Upon finding damage to their rental property, many landlords turn to insurance for help repairing the damages. Many of the large insurance companies offer products referred to as rental dwelling policies, or RDP for short. These types of policies vary from standard homeowners insurance in that they are specially designed to address the types of issues that landlords are frequently faced with, such as tenant vandalism.
While it is not designed to cover normal wear and tear, it should help with more substantial damages caused by tenants. Although there will likely be a deductible that you’ll have to pay, the insurance company can work to recover the deductible and their payment for damages from the responsible party through a process called subrogation.
Pursue the Responsible Party Directly
If you are unable to get assistance from insurance, or if you are someone who likes to take matters into your own hands, you have the option of filing a small claims case against the tenant. Depending on the amount of damages you are seeking to recover, this can be an affordable way of holding the tenant responsible for his or her actions, and it can reduce the need for getting an attorney involved.
In the state of Kansas, you must be at least 18 years old to file a small claims case and you must be seeking to recover $4,000 or less. There is also a statute of limitations on the amount of time you have to bring a suit against the responsible party. Depending on the nature of your case, this time period may be as short as two years or as long as five years, and the court can advise you appropriately on this when you begin the process for filing your case.
Rent it Out as a Fixer Upper
For many home investors, insurance and small claims court may not be an option, either due to lack of funding, time, or other resources. Another option that many landlords consider is renting out the home “as is” to a handyman or another qualified individual who has the skill and time to complete the necessary repairs in exchange for discounted rent. This can be another affordable means of repairing your rental property.
This option can be mutually agreeable both for the landlord and the handyman tenant: the landlord is still receiving some rent for the home and the handyman has a place to live. If you choose to go this route, be sure that you have some type of written timeline that both parties agree to and that all of the planned repairs are well documented and agreed upon up front to avoid further heartache down the road.
Repair the Damage
For many reasons, some property managers choose to take on the task of repairing the damages themselves. This may mean that he or she completes the work on their own or with the assistance of subcontractors. Depending on the extent of the damages that the tenant caused to the home, this option may be appropriate for those landlords who have experience in the construction industry.
There are important considerations to make when choosing to repair the damages on your own. For example, every property has continuing expenses, such as mortgage, property taxes, utilities, and insurance. These expenses will continue regardless of whether or not you have a tenant in the home, and you may need to determine if the downtime that comes with performing your own repairs is worth the expense.
Sell the Home “As Is”
If your insurance coverage is not enough to cover the damages and you don’t have the time and resources to take the tenant to small claims court or repair the home on your own, it may be beneficial to determine whether or not this rental property is going to remain profitable for you. If you come to the conclusion that it will not, the time may have come to look into what options you have for selling the home.
Depending on how substantial the damage is to the home, selling it on the traditional real estate market may or may not be an option. There are many companies in Kansas, such as Cash 4 Kansas Homes, that will buy a house for cash regardless of what condition the home is in. These companies specialize in providing a fast selling and closing experience on unwanted homes, and this can be an appealing option if you no longer desire to own the home.
Sell My House Fast in Kansas
In some cases, the damage that tenants cause to homes is too extensive to repair affordably and selling may be the only option. If you’re a landlord or property manager in Kansas who needs to sell your vandalized rental home, Cash 4 Kansas Homes is here for you. We frequently get inquiries from landlords such as, “What are my options for selling a damaged rental home?” and, “How can you help me sell my home fast?” We buy homes in any condition, and we can often conclude the closing processes in less than 30 days. Additionally, we do it all with the knowledge and expertise that you would expect from a real estate agent without the fees and commissions. If you’re ready to get started, contact us at 913-276-0769 today!