Managing Hardwood Floor Damage

2 Replies

Our rental has hardwood floors. The tenant left some large black marks on the floors. As they are box-shaped we think they are some sort of radiator that partially burned the floors. The damage is in two rooms with approximately 350 square feet. We have about 600 sq ft. of hardwood.

Before they moved in, the floors were pretty well-worn, but clear of these stains. Even before tenant move-in, the floors could have used a resurfacing, but with the stain, it is a much bigger necessity.

I am not sure how to proceed. Here are some questions:

  • Does hardwood floor surfacing "depreciate" like carpet?
  • How can I charge my tenant when the floors were already worn and needing a resurface? I believe I need to charge something because this forges my hand to do something that did not need to be done.

Thanks for any counsel you have.

Originally posted by @James M. :

Our rental has hardwood floors. The tenant left some large black marks on the floors. As they are box-shaped we think they are some sort of radiator that partially burned the floors. The damage is in two rooms with approximately 350 square feet. We have about 600 sq ft. of hardwood.

Before they moved in, the floors were pretty well-worn, but clear of these stains. Even before tenant move-in, the floors could have used a resurfacing, but with the stain, it is a much bigger necessity.

I am not sure how to proceed. Here are some questions:

  • Does hardwood floor surfacing "depreciate" like carpet?
  • How can I charge my tenant when the floors were already worn and needing a resurface? I believe I need to charge something because this forges my hand to do something that did not need to be done.

Thanks for any counsel you have.

 It depreciates, but not like carpet.  Like a roof; over 27.5 years.

You charge for the value of what was damaged, not just the cost of the repair.  So if the surface had a year of useful life left when they moved in, you charge nothing.  If it had two years of life left and you now have to replace it a year early, you charge accordingly.

I would probably charge some fairly nominal amount, in the circumstances you describe.

But I wouldn't be in that circumstance, and here is why.  I wouldn't rent it with a worn finish.  The purpose of a finish on a hardwood floor is not only, or even mostly, to look good.  It is to protect the wood.  If you rent it with worn finish, you are setting yourself up for much greater expenses down the line.  It is much cheaper to do a "screen and recoat" of an existing sound surface that it is to actually refinish the floors.  

Bring in a floor person and ask for a quote to refinish the floor. You will actually want 2 quotes. One on what they would charge before the marks and one now. You may even ask for another quote just to remove the marks if it would be feasible. Now you have numbers to work with to charge the tenant.

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