If you’re like most rental property owners in Charlotte, you have a nagging fear that tenants may damage your investment property. You can screen residents well, you can conduct routine inspections and establish a good relationship with them, but one of the risks when you rent out your home is that your tenant is going to leave behind a mess you didn’t expect.
Preventing damage and protecting your investment property is one of the best reasons to hire a Charlotte property management company. You’ll do a lot less worrying, and if you find there is damage after a tenant moves out, you’ll know that experienced professionals are taking care of it for you.
Here are some of the first steps you’ll need to take if a tenant damages your property.
Document Damage with a Move-Out Inspection Report
Use the move-in condition report when you’re conducting your move-out inspection. This is the best way to compare how your property looked before the tenants took possession to how it looks now, after they’ve left.
If there’s tenant damage, you should easily see it in the inspection reports.
Remember that damage is different from wear and tear. You may be outraged by the small nail holes in the walls or the scuff marks from furniture on the carpets, but that’s not damage, and your tenants are not responsible for it.
When you’re documenting the damage, take a lot of pictures. You may have found large holes in walls, broken appliances, doors off their hinges, broken windows, or huge gashes on walls and floors. You want to make sure you’re able to prove the damage so you can lawfully keep the tenant’s security deposit.
Contact Your Best Vendors and Contractors
Schedule the work as soon as you can. Not only is there a deadline for you to correspond with the tenant, you also don’t want to waste time while you’re trying to repair and turnover your rental property. Ask your preferred vendors for estimates on how much it will cost to return your Charlotte rental property to a habitable condition. Get the work started as soon as possible. Providing your tenants with invoices instead of quotes is always better when you’re letting them know why you’ve kept all or part of their deposit.
Reconcile the Security Deposit
Deduct the amount of damage from the security deposit your tenants paid before moving in.
North Carolina law generally requires you to return the security deposit within 30 days of the tenant moving out. If you’re keeping the entire amount, you will need to send a letter to your tenants within those 30 days to let them know why. Enclose receipts, invoices, and estimates as well as the language in the lease that references your right to keep the security deposit for damage that goes beyond wear and tear.
Send an Invoice for Any Amount Still Due
It’s rare that the damage is so significant it surpasses the amount of the deposit. However, it does happen. When you find your tenants still owe you money, send them a bill for what is still outstanding. You may never see that money, unless you’re willing to hire an attorney or a collections firm.
We can help you avoid tenant damage when you’re renting out a Charlotte property. Contact our team at AM Realty, and we’ll do our best to protect your investment.