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When damage to an apartment leads to unpaid debt

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2021 | Debt Collection |

Buying residential properties to rent them out can be a decision that leads to a lifetime of income. People will always need housing, so provided that you keep your properties in good condition, you can expect to consistently be able to rent the units that you own to cover your expenses. 

Unfortunately, not all tenants treat rental properties with the respect they deserve. You may have had tenants recently vacate a unit and leave it in much worse condition than it was in when they assumed tenancy. 

Reviewing the condition inventory and doing an inspection might reveal thousands of dollars in damages, from holes in drywall to stolen fixtures. When you have documented damages to your unit, you may eventually need to initiate collection activities against your former tenant.

Security deposits often are not enough

Kentucky state law does not limit how much you can charge for a security deposit. Landlords can charge several months’ rent, but large deposits can eliminate a lot of potential tenants. Establishing a lower, more reasonable security deposit, like one month’s rent, can mean that it is easier and faster to rent out your unit when one tenant leaves. 

However, it may also mean that you don’t have enough money held via the deposit to cover the damage a tenant caused. Just replacing the carpet damaged when someone was smoking inside in violation of the lease might cost more than the deposit they paid on the unit. You can retain the security deposit if you have documentation of damage, but you may also need to take additional steps to recover the costs caused by the remaining harm.

Provided that you can show the extent of the damage and the costs necessary to repair it, it may be possible for you to initiate collection activity against a tenant who damaged one of your units.