After recently flooding, tenant called me to let me know that there was wet spots in the ceilings of the house. While I was there checking the ceiling issues they mentioned that there was a damaged section of the hardwood floor in one room. It is in a bedroom a 2 feet by 1 foot section of hard wood floor
. They said that they think it was because the foundation is not leveled or due to the recent foods.
If it was due to flooding or foundation, then how come other parts of the house aren't damaged? There is a room in the very back that is about 6 inches lower than that room so if it was flooding that back room would have been destroyed. In my opinion it was probably water they spilled as they do have a water dispenser in the dining room.
What is the best way to handle this? Should I charge them now or take it out of the security deposit? Should I not lease to them another year if the don't want to pay for this? Do I need to have an expert put in writing that it was human error and is that even possible?
It is possible that the tenant may not have caused it. Regardless, it's often very difficult to hold a tenant accountable to pay for something like this when you can't conclusively show what did cause it. Suppose the tenant contested paying for it and argued that they didn't cause it. Could it have been caused by something other than the tenant (i.e. humidity, moisture coming up from the subfloor, etc)? If you can't answer that question with certainty then you likely wouldn't prevail if you tried to get the tenant to pay for it. And honestly, if you're not completely sure, it really wouldn't be right to charge them anyway.
@Kyle J. , I agree with your post. I'm just finding it hard to believe that the damage is only to that part of the floor and not more of the room or any other room in the house. I've managed that property for 7 years (different tenants) and that has never happened to any part of that house.
It kinda looks to me that the trim is a bit moisture damaged? Is there a window above the damage?
It very well might go down by its self.