Tenant's personal indoor AC unit leaked. Damaged flooring

9 Replies

Our tenant just moved in 3 months ago and brought his personal/portable AC unit. It leaked water into the next unit, out to the exterior, and warped half the family room laminates, which were installed a week before he moved in. 

His deposit is $1200k but I don't want to take from that now since he has another 9 months left on his lease. Am I allowed to bill about $4/sq ft to replace the laminates and baseboards or do I have to just take it from the deposit when he moves out? This is in California

Every county has their own rules. But typically here in Illinois you could bill the tenant for damages that they cause. Although you have to subtract out from the useful life of the item. In this case the laminate was essentially new so you should be ok in terms of a percent. But you would need to find out how many years they allow for laminate and go from there.

i.e. If 10 years of laminate and your actually cost to replace is 1,000, then if he damaged them at the 6 mos mark, he would be responsible for $950 and you'd have to eat the other $500.

But be sure you use your actual cost for replacing laminate and base. If you remove and install the stuff yourself, I don't know if you'll be able to get your labor reimbursed. Maybe just material. Some counties are funny about that too. If you hire a contractor, then yes, all the counties I'm familiar with here would let you charge for that labor. But some are funny about coming up with a number to do it yourself.

So sorry this happened to you. We have a clause in our rental agreement property rules that helps prevent this. Here is the clause.... perhaps you can amend your lease and/or use it in the future.

AIR CONDITIONERS.Tenant agrees to not install or cause to be installed air conditioners without prior written consent of Landlord. Such installation, if not done properly, could result in structural damage. Not all electrical circuits have enough amps for air conditioners and overloading an electrical circuit could cause circuit breakers to trip and/or cause damage or fire. Air conditioners must be positioned to allow condensation to drip outside the building, not inside. Installation and removal of window air conditioners can cause damage to window casings and window tracks.Tenant agrees to pay for damage that may occur from air conditioners. If a screen is in place, Tenant agrees to notify Landlord to request removal, so Landlord may secure the screen in safe storage and for re-installation at a later time.

About the damage.... Yes, charge for damages as they occur or as you discover them. If you wait to use the security deposit after move-out, it will rarely be enough. The amount you charge must be reasonable. Push back will be less if you talk with the tenant about it before they receive the bill. Be open and honest with him, firm, friendly and fair. Don't delay either; being swift to enforce the terms of the lease agreement and to attend to maintenance and repair needs is important.

I would charge tenant for current damage.

In the future require tenants to pay an AC install fee. You should have your handyman or somebody else install window ACs at the correct pitch.

When we are talking about window ACs, the condensation is the least of my worries. Imagine if a window unit falls out because of a poor installation and hits somebody on a sidewalk.

Continuous and repeated seeping is not covered under your insurance policy. A case "MIGHT" be made to file under the residents renal insurance as a negligent liability claim.

They need to pay for it either way.

I wouldn't bother filing an insurance claim for some cheap laminate flooring. You would get peanuts after the deductible is taken out. We are talking what? 150-200 sqft of bad flooring? In the future look into luxury vinyl plank. It looks like laminate but us rubber instead so it's tough and water proof. I would just let the renter know it's coming out of his deposit, and that if any other damages happen that go over the amount of the deposit then he is liable for paying more money. Tell him that and forget about it. He can live with the messed up floors 

Thanks for all the great responses. We're going with vinyl or tile from now on. That clause is great and I'll be adding something similar to our contract. 

Don't tell the tenant it's coming out of their deposit... that's for damages found after they move out.  Have the flooring repaired now and bill the tenant for it as soon as it's done.  The tenant is responsible to pay for these damages... it's not normal wear and tear.

I wouldn’t fix anything. Make sure it’s all dried up so you don’t get mold. When tenant moved out charge for damages. 

Start looking into month to month leases. I usually give a 16 month no rent raise guarantee on a month to month.  . But the month to month gives me a lot of leeway if the tenant ends up being a dud we part ways pretty quick rather than suffer through a year of bs lease violations 3 day pay/resolve or quit 

Yes, tenant should pay for his mistake.  And, you could have had a more durable product installed, instead of laminate.  Vinyl planks are the way to go.  They look great, and are there from now on.

It's good that you now realize this.  Sorry that you had this happen to you.  

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