After a tenant moves out of your southern Maryland rental property, you’ll need to determine what qualifies as tenant damage and what is considered normal wear and tear. This can be difficult to define, and subjective at times. It takes a little experience to know what you can and cannot do, and you need to be careful. If you charge something against the tenant that shouldn’t have been charged, you could have negative repercussions. A southern Maryland property manager can help.
Damages are things that the tenant caused from negligence or malice. They weren’t paying attention and something happened, or they destroyed something. Some of the most common incidences of tenant damage are broken windows, broken doors, holes in walls, cuts on counters from not using a cutting board, cigarette burns, excessive ivy growing up the property, or unmaintained landscaping. When a tenant does not report damage, it can be a huge problem. They might see a leak and not bother calling it in. Or, they overflow the toilet and you can tell, or the grease that was poured down a drain causes a clog. We do charge tenants for this type of damage.
Normal Wear and Tear
Every house has normal wear and tear. If your carpet is five years old, it will need to be replaced. You cannot charge the tenants for the full amount. If they damage it, you have to prorate the cost based on how long they have lived there. The same should be done with walls. There will be normal wear and tear from living in a property. Things get hammered into the wall, but when anchors are used, they need to repair and replace the holes. Settlement cracks and other foundational issues cannot be considered damage, and will be your own responsibility. Loose cabinets and hinges are also to be expected.
According to Maryland state law, you have to give your tenants the benefit of the doubt. Courts will come down hard if you charge a tenant for something that you cannot prove was damage. So if you see something that’s borderline damage, it’s probably not worth charging them. You want to avoid the ordeal.
If you have any questions about how a southern Maryland property management company handles this, please contact us at Real Property Management Gold.