Do you have a rental property that got absolutely trashed by the last tenant you had? Unfortunately, this happens way too often, and it is one of the big risks involved with property ownership and management. On the bright side, you are not alone with this headache, as thousands of landlords before you have dealt with this same scenario.
If you are trying to figure out what to do next, read this article with 4 next steps when dealing with a trashed rental property.
Should you try to go after the tenant?
As natural of a reaction as it is to want to get some type of revenge on the tenant that caused the damage in the first place, it is probably not worth the legal fees and headaches of getting anything out of them. Chances are, you will probably end up spending way more time and money trying to get them to pay for everything than you would if you just decided to clean it up yourself.
This is not always the case, but if you are thinking about taking legal action, consult a real estate attorney and make sure that the juice is worth the squeeze.
Your best bet is probably to just take the security deposit, which hopefully you got at the beginning of the lease, and call it good. This is probably the most you will end up getting out of the tenant anyway.
How bad is the damage?
Some tenants punch holes in the walls and steal fixtures and appliances, while others will completely destroy the property inside and out. If it was the former, then you can probably get away with just simply fixing up the little quick fixes that are needed and rent it out again as soon as possible.
However, if you hit the lottery and got a really bad tenant, then you might not want to go through the nightmare of trying to fix everything yourself. You might be thinking more along the lines of the next two options.
Renting to a handyman
This might be one of the best win-win situations in this scenario. A hardworking tenant gets a cheap, or maybe even free, place to live, while you slowly get a renovated property back without having to put any more time or money into it.
Be sure to check out the tenant thoroughly to make sure you do not have a repeat of the initial bad tenant, and be sure to spell everything out clearly in the lease. Have a timeline and be very clear with your expectations so you don’t just have a freeloader taking advantage of the situation.
If you find the right tenant, things could work out very well for everyone involved.
You might be able to 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). This is probably a lot more realistic in this situation because most retail buyers are not going to want to touch a property that needs a ton of work.