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 Killeen 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 Killeen house” then here are some things you can do about it…
Avoid the situation
Well, I’ll say this up front… tough love if you will! You Probably could have avoided the situation by vetting the tenants better and following up on red flags as they arose. Now, you may be out of state and have a property manager but even then, I would bet (dollars to donuts as my father says) that you didn’t feel 100 percent about the PM before this all started, right? It’s a valuable lesson we all go through as landlords and just a small thought as we get rolling. But that’s past us now so…
Is it worth going after the tenant?
You need to first assess the damage and decide if it’s worth going after the tenant. Unfortunately, it almost always isn’t worth the hassle because it may be a time consuming and even expensive effort to get the tenant to pay you back. Even if you win in small claims court (which is pretty much your only avenue) there is really no mechanism to force them to pay. You can try to file liens against them but the reality is this just likely won’t do much and will cost you even more money. However, if the damage is significant enough, you may choose to do this.
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. Obviously, this is typically what you will want to do. You can deduct the expenses and move on.
*However*, if you are tired of dealing with these issues (out of state folks, I’m looking at you!), give us a call to discuss your options. I love rental properties and would love to buy yours!
You could rent your house to a handyman
I’ll be honest, I am hesitant to suggest this as in my experience it rarely goes well. that said, a lot of people like the idea of keeping an “on-site” maintenance person as a tenant so there aren’t issues. Personally, I say it’s best not to blur the tenant/landlord line like that but it is an option.
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).