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What To Do When a Tenant Trashes Your Rental Property?

Chances are, as a landlord, you’ve put a lot of time and money into your rental property and screening tenants. But despite your best efforts, you may get tenants that end up seriously damaging your rental property either accidentally or on purpose (1).

This article details a landlord’s legal protections in the event of property damage by a tenant, as well as the procedu

Understanding Landlord’s Legal Rights and Responsibilities

Tenants are often responsible for repairs beyond reasonable wear and tear, but this may vary depending on local landlord-tenant rules. Average damage on flooring, paint, or appliances, for instance, is not the tenant’s fault.

But problems like a broken air conditioner compressor because the tenant maintains the house at frosty degrees, a clogged toilet from the tenant flushing trash down the drain, and broken windows, maybe the result of tenant carelessness or negligence.

Many renters will try to pass the buck by blaming someone else. Still, depending on your local landlord-tenant laws, you should ascertain whether the damage was caused by carelessness or was simply the result of regular tear and wear.

Recommendations for Landlords Who Experience Vandalism

If you manage rental properties long enough, you’re bound to encounter an unhappy renter who takes their frustrations out on your investment. If that happens, most of we buy houses Nashville would advise you to:

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Identify and Categorized the Damage

To solve a problem, you must first identify and address its source. Finding out how the renter messed up the rental property is a crucial first step in fixing the situation. Generally, there could be two main methods by which renters wreck property:

Intentional Property Damage

Particular renters are too careless to keep your property in the condition you’d like them to. Clients that throw wild parties, puncture holes in walls, rip up carpets, or otherwise intentionally damage your house fall into this category.

Accidental Property Damage

Tenants shouldn’t be automatically written off as careless. It’s not always on purpose, but accidents do happen. Get to understand your tenants well and build trust in them, and you’ll be able to relax knowing that your property is in good hands. 

Also, work on your communication lines to ensure you get immediate reports of any property destruction. Fixing property damage early on is preferable to waiting until it has worsened.

Remember, though, regular wear and tear is not the same as a tenant trashing the property. We buy houses Nashville TN advocates that landlords should pay for repairs caused by typical wear and tear.

To help you determine the extent of the damage to your property, here are some questions to ask yourself. When the tenant discovered the damage, did they contact you? How much of the blame did they admit? How often do you encounter problems like this with the renter?

Asking yourself whether or not the tenant has a history of problems that could point to them as the perpetrators of the damage is a smart first step in determining the nature of the problem.

Document the Losses or Damages

Keeping detailed records of any instances of tenant property damage is a tried and true strategy for avoiding legal wrangling. It can add to your workload in property management; nevertheless, it will be helpful in a dispute.

To determine the extent of the destruction, you will either need to hire a professional inspector like sell my house fast Nashville or enter the building yourself. Capture photographic evidence of the renter’s destruction of the leased property. Make it a point to record videos as well.

Even better, ensure you take or have photographs of the property before the renter moves in. With this, you can easily compare results to gauge the level of harm. Take images and videos and record the day they were taken in case you have to sue the tenant. Keep records of all conversations with the tenant, primarily written correspondence, such as emails or letters.

Estimate the Repairs and Maintenance Costs

Your rental could be taken off the market if significant damage occurs, so it’s essential to get we buy ugly houses in Nashville TN and any other professional property estimation firm for sufficient calculation.

For peace of mind that you are obtaining a reasonable price, it is crucial to seek many quotes. You want to ensure your rental property gets high-quality repairs, and one person’s assessment could be less comprehensive than another’s.

Discuss the Damages with Your Tenant

Most damage incidences, including the major ones, are accidents. After taking photos of the property damage, discuss the issue with the renter to determine what needs to be done to make things right, especially if this is the tenant’s first incident in the rental agreement.

Dealing with a Cooperative Tenant

You can work out a reasonable plan to restore your property with your tenant if the damage was accidental or if they have a solid credit record. Negotiate a suitable payment plan, especially if they can’t afford the repairs, or their security credit can’t cover them. Just ensure to document everything.

Dealing With an Aggressive Renter

Tenants who threaten you or your property must be removed immediately. Contact the police first and document the damages and your discussions with the tenant. Calling the authorities can ensure the angry renters are fined or arrested for the damages. 

Apply for eviction if your tenant has been hostile and has continued to cause damage to your property. This process is lengthy, so exhaust all the options before settling for this.

Cover Damage from Security Deposit

The purpose of the security deposit is to compensate for damage beyond typical wear and tear. This is the first safeguard against paying out of pocket for repairs.

There must be written notice to the tenant that the security deposit will not be returned, together with an itemized account of the losses and the corresponding expenditures, before the landlord can withhold the security deposit.


Tenant chaos can be distressing. When property damage surpasses typical wear and tear, landlords can seek compensation. Consider reporting to small claim courts if repairs cost more than the renter’s down payment. Also, report the issue to the police if your tenant is aggressive or considers eviction.


Jonathan Sims

Jonathan Sims is a cash home buyer and the founder of Olive Tree Homes. With a passion for helping homeowners in need, he has helped countless individuals and families sell their homes quickly and hassle-free. As an expert in the real estate industry, Jonathan has a deep understanding of the local market and uses his knowledge to make fair and honest offers on homes. He believes in providing excellent customer service and making the home selling process as easy as possible for his clients. Jonathan is committed to helping people achieve their real estate goals and has a proven track record of success in the industry.