Collecting Repair Costs from Tenant DURING a Lease

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Looking for advice on COLLECTING REPAIR COSTS from the tenant that are incurred DURING the tenancy. Something I can put into the lease terms? Our past tenant caused some damage that needed repair during her lease. It was her fault (although accidental) & it needed immediate repair to prevent further damage from occurring (ie, pipe broken by shoving a metal storage rack into the sink cabinet). I sent her the bill requesting payment. She never paid it, so obviously it was deducted from her security at move-out. Since the bill was small ($35), it was not a big deal. But let's say she had shoved furniture into the attic, on top of the water heater pipes, that eventually leaked through the ceiling & created a repair that cost $500. Is there a way to collect that money from her at that time? I don't feel we should be oop $500 for the next year, waiting to take it from the security at move-out. If the landlord's already owed $500 from the security (say 2 months into a 12 month lease), that may not leave much more security to cover all future damages/unpaid rent/cleaning fees/etc. at move-out. I feel tenants would be less likely to take great care of the property if they realize they've already lost out on 1/2 their security being returned. I'd rather require immediate payment for immediate repairs (not cosmetic) & always have tenants striving to get their full security returned at move-out.

Could you have a lease term stating that monies received go towards any prior balances/rent/late fees/repairs/etc, before it's applied to the current month's rent? Then if they owe $500 for a leak repair and pay you $1200 intended for next month's rent, you can collect your $500 repair money and advise they only paid $700 towards current rent that's due. I'm in TN. Someone mentioned that it's illegal to use "rent" money for anything other than rent. But if it's in your lease & both parties sign it, is it enforceable?

Hi @Sara Dunn .  If they admit fault, can you have them pay the repair person directly?  Also, maybe add something to the lease such as:

"Any repairs due to tenant abuse or negligence which must be done immediately will be added to the next month's rent as 'additional rent.'  This will be due along with the next month's rent and subject to late fees and possible eviction if not paid by the due date."

Not a lawyer, but maybe that would give you what you are looking for?