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 Fort Worth house!”
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 house” then here are some things you can do about it…
Is it worth going after the tenant?
Although you should have a security deposit that should cover some of the damage… when a tenant causes damage beyond this amount, you have to decide if it is worth it to go after the tenant to get the remaining amount. You need to first assess the damage and then 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 expensive effort to get the tenant to pay you back (think lawyers, court costs, contractor fees, holding costs while you wait, etc). Part of this equation is if they have money to go after. Even if you get a court judgement in your favor, do they have money that can pay for the damage, or do they have wages that can be garnished? If the damage is significant enough, you may choose to do this. The key to this decision is to take emotion out and make a business decision. Calculate the monitary, stress, and time considerations and determine if it is worth it. Unfortunately in the real estate business, it is not always about justice being served, but it comes down to is it worth it.
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, in which case you may want to fix it up and rent it out again, and then just accept the inconvenience as the cost of doing business. Remember we are talking about cost of the repairs and the time to get the repairs done and the time to get a new tenant. If the damage is not worth repairing 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. Make sure to verify the repairs and make sure they are doing the work correctly. You are trading rent for repairs. It can be a good trade, or you could just loose time and have to redo the repairs later.
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).