Advice on how to charge for damaged flooring/trim etc on move out

4 Replies

We just had our tenants move out and I'm trying to figure out how to charge for some of the damages. They were good tenants for the most part and cleaned the house pretty well but there are some things. 

Any tips/advice/encouragement is greatly appreciated.

Garage door - they had a car roll into it so I'm getting an estimate. It just dented.

Floor - there is one decent sized scratch on the laminate. How do you recommend we charge for this? Is this something we can fill? I'm not familiar with fixing laminate flooring!

Trim - there are  a couple places where it looks like something bashed into the trim and took some chunks out. Not sure how to charge for this or fix it.

Yard - they didn't really keep up the yard as we would have liked (we are moving to include yard service to avoid this in the future) There are big chunks of dirt where grass used to be, some of the plants we had planted died due to not being watered etc.  Also, lots of yard debris that should have been swept up and disposed of. 

Screen door - the screen door was taken out and leaning against the wall and has a tear in it. Do I need to get a whole new door or is there a way to replace just the screen? 

Painting - there are holes from hanging pictures and some spots that need touched up. Is this something you normally charge for or is this considered more normal wear and tear?

Aloma,

Some of this is wear and tear. Depending on your lease agreement, I can see the painting and trim (fill in the trim, then paint it while painting the other stuff) as wear and tear.

The garage door, screen door, and floor could all be considered chargeable (again, what does the lease say?) against security deposit. It's whatever it costs to fix it. You should probably get a floor guy in to see what can be done there. The rest are all pretty straightforward.

The yard for me is questionable, but it depends on the lease, if it's enumerated in the lease (renter/tenant will be responsible for maintaining the yard) and you have before and after pictures, you should be ok in charging the securty deposit. If you have before and after photos, and some general standard of maintaining the property, again you should be ok. Other than that... it's a judgement call on your part.

 Generally, make sure you itemize so the former tenant knows what they are being charged for, and why they aren't getting their whole (or any) security deposit returned.

As always, consult with an attorney if necessary. I'm only providing suggestions, not legal advice.

Good Luck!

Jim

Regarding the laminate, you can usually find a color match pen/marker used to repair scratches. If it's only the one scratch, I'd go that route rather than all the trouble of replacing the plank.

The trim you should be able to fill with some wood putty and paint. If you can avoid it, I wouldn't replace it. It can be a major pain to try to match trim up.

Screens can easily be replaced. You can buy a kit to do it yourself at a hardware store for about $15, or most stores have a service where they'll do it for a fee.

If it's just a little touch up paint and you have the paint, I'd just do it. If you have to repaint entire walls or buy touch up paint, charge them. 

YMMV

Do you have a property condition form that the tenants filled out...or dated photographs/video tour? To show the "before" condition of the property? Tenants are expected to hang pictures with nails, not anchors, etc. I routinely fill holes and touch up as normal wear and tear. Moreover, Did you provide felt pads and tell them how to care for the floor? Why did they remove the screen door? Was it broken and a nuisance? I am not saying your tenants should not be held responsible (but if they challenge you, you need to have documentation). But learn from this experience, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

How long did they live in the home?  Do you have a move in walk through?  Pictures before they moved in?  You can get a handyman to give you a estimate for the inside repairs and a landscaper to give you estimate for the yard.  If they've been there 3 or more years the painting is normal wear and tear.