What now? If you own a rental property but had a tenant trash it when they leave then make sure you read this article because we’re addressing the all-too-common problem that landlords have when they say, “Help! My last tenant trashed my Central Mississippi house!” A trashed house may mean lost rent revenue, which in turn could impact your ability to pay for your mortgage, repairs, or other obligations. Why do tenants trash houses? Let’s look at how you might avoid this before you select that tenant. Sometimes tenants are angry with their landlord about property maintenance issues that go unresolved. If maintenance is your responsibility, and the needed repairs are no fault of the tenant, address their concerns and help keep their home and your property in great shape. Some tenants are habitually trashy. Take the time when a tenant applies to call all their prior landlords, not just the most recent, or current one, as they are ready for the trashy tenant to move on. Make sure your lease allows regular property inspections to identify issues early on. If you see a problem, look for legal ways you might encourage the client to leave on their own before things get out of hand. We actually advised a tenant we had decided to sell a property as soon as their lease was up. When they found a new place and wanted to break the lease, we were glad to see them go and released them early. Good riddance to those troublesome tenants.
Do you own a rental property? Did you have a tenant leave it in less-than-perfect condition? It happens! In fact, it’s an experience that probably every landlord has faced at least once. If you looked at your empty rental property and said, “Help! My tenant trashed my Central Mississippi house” then here are some things you can do about it…
Is it worth going after the tenant that trashed my house?
You need to first assess the damage and decide if it’s worth going after the tenant. Unfortunately, it often isn’t worth the hassle because it may be a time consuming and even an expensive effort to get the tenant to pay you back. However, if the damage is significant enough, you may choose to do this. Think about the worst-case scenario before you rent so you have a game plan when it does happen. Consider requiring the renter carry renters’ insurance and name yourself, or company if in a company name, as an additional loss payee on the policy. This may allow you to file a claim on the insurance policy even if the tenant doesn’t file a claim. Talk with your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate coverage.
Is it worth repairing the damage?
From holes in the walls to missing toilets – we’ve heard of just about everything you can imagine! Sometimes a bit of drywall and paint will fix the problem – call it the cost of doing business, so get it fixed it up and rent it out again. However, if the damage is more significant than you can repair yourself then you might be interested in a couple of other options:
You could rent your house to a handyman
One little-known option that is actually really helpful is to find a handyman who wants to rent the house. In exchange for a discount on rent (or even free rent) they can fix up the house for you to make it a nice rental property again. Make sure you have a timeline all spelled out, though, to avoid then staying too long without a lot of work getting done. This can be a great solution, or create another problem, so make sure you cover expectations and have periodic inspections to see that the work is being completed in the agreed upon timeframe and to the standard you expect.
You could sell the house
Another option is to sell the house and move on from owning a frustrating rental property. However, be aware that if you try to sell the house on the open market, you may have to fix it up first in order for the agent to list it. Another option is to sell privately to a house-buying team like ours. (We buy houses in as-is condition, and we’ll fix them up ourselves). When you reach out to us, we can help you as an investor or refer you to our agent owner/partner to review retail sale options.