What are the rights of the landlord When the renter damages the property?

Property Management Blog

Tenants can cause damage to the property. The degree of damage may vary from blocked toilets to holes in the walls. Broken windows are another common problem. It is a common misconception that the law supports tenants, but landlords also have the due right, although they are not commonly practiced. 

The landlord can ask the tenant to fix or replace the broken things. The tenant has to take responsibility for fixing the damage according to its nature. The landlord can hold the security, or in some extreme cases, they have the right to sue the tenant as well. Here we are discussing the property rights of landlords in detail and common property damages for which a tenant should take responsibility. 

Types of property damages 

Property damages can be intentional and accidental. Natural calamities and irresponsible handling also cause considerable damage to the property. Common wear and tear is another thing that may or may not fall under the category of damages. Replacement and fixation of damage can cost a few dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the problem. So, it is very important to decide who is responsible for fixing the damage, whether it is the responsibility of the tenant or the landlord. Here are some common damages which landlords usually face for their rental properties. 

  • Cracks and fractures are common in furniture, sanitary fixtures, and windows. It can be accidental or negligence. Sometimes tenants or their guests can also do this damage intentionally. In this case, the tenant will be responsible for fixing the damage. 

  • Stains on walls, carpets, and furniture is another common problem. Discoloration of carpet and furniture also falls under the same category. If the damage is due to negligence or accidents due to their carelessness, it is their responsibility to fix the problem. 

  • Any damage due to et, like stains and scratch, is also the responsibility of the tenant. 

  • If the appliance or equipment is damaged due to negligence or wrong usage, the tenant will be responsible for fixing the damage. 

  • Common wear and tear and damage due to weather conditions are the responsibility of the landlord. Similarly, damage due to any criminal activity and pest infestation is also the responsibility of the landlord. 

Rights of landlords in case of property damage

Tenants can cause damage to the rental property in more than one way. Holes in walls, broken fixtures, and mishandling of appliances are the common ones. Usually, landlords feel very helpless as tenants usually sue them for very small problems. It is the right of the landlord to defend his interest, and they must do it at any cost. Here are some options for the landlords, which landlords can choose to take necessary action. 

Request the renter to fix the damage completely

The tenant should report any damage to the property to the landlord himself, no matter what is the nature of the damage. The landlord needs to access and record the damage and get a quotation from a suitable skilled person for repair. After that, the landlord has to send a request to the tenant to bear the repairing cost if they are responsible for the damage; on the other hand, if the tenant does not inform you about the damage and you discover it yourself, it is a clear violation of lease terms. On this basis, you can take legal action against the tenant.

Hold the security deposit

This is not the first option in case of damage, but it will be necessary in some cases. Refunding of security deposits is a common dispute between landlords and tenants. Tenants accuse landlords of withholding their money for the wrong reasons, but landlords are not always wrong. 

Landlords have the right to use the security deposit to fix the damage which tenants cause to their property. However, the landlord must have evidence that the tenant is responsible for this damage. If the landlord has no evidence, the tenant can accuse of false obligations. 

In some cases, the damage is very serious, and the security deposit is insufficient to fix that. In this case, the landlord has the right to sue the tenant and ask to pay additional charges required to fix the damage. 

Sue your tenant

In some extreme cases, you have no option but to sue your tenant. This is the point when you don't consider the person your tenant. They have left your property, and you have used the security deposit to fix the damage they have caused. However, the damage is not completely fixed, and you need more money. When landlords face a significant loss, legal action is the only way to compensate for the loss. In this situation, you can sue the tenant in the appropriate court. Normal lawsuits are expensive and time taking, but this type of lawsuit is not. It can help you to recover some cash which you have lost. 

Ask the tenant to leave the house

The clauses of leases should be very clear for landlords and tenants. If the attitude of the tenant is not appropriate and you don't want them as your tenant, you can request to leave the house. However, make sure your attitude is not unfair or that there is no discrimination. Check your rental property for damages and evaluate your relationship with the tenant. If you are not satisfied, you can draft a legal notice and ask to vacate the house. In this case, you have to refund the security deposit completely, and in some cases, you have to pay extra money as well. It can be expensive, but it can be necessary to avoid future problems. 


If there is any valid lease agreement, you can take any of the above actions according to the situation. However, you can avoid many tenant-related disputes if you do proper tenant screening before the agreement. Once the agreement is signed, you can discuss your rights and responsibilities to make things clear. Moreover, maintaining a healthy relationship with the tenant is also the key to avoiding problems. 

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty.

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