What can I do if my tenant has destroyed my home?

What can I do if my tenant has destroyed my home?
Published on: 5 October 2022

Table of contents

Although renting is an excellent option to obtain additional income, it can also cause some setbacks with tenants, such as non-payment of rent, among other unpleasant situations. For this reason, it is advisable to have everything under contract and to seek advice from a good civil lawyer, so that renting your property is not a problem.

What happens if your tenant damages your home?

Nobody likes to have their home vandalised when they have rented it and that is why more and more people hire rental companies that take care of everything. Some of these companies include among the benefits of rental home insurance advice on choosing a tenant. In this way, an initial investigation of your financial situation can be made before an insurance contract is approved. Normally, the landlord becomes aware of any damage to the property during the term of the lease until the end of the lease.

But if, for whatever reason, you do not want to hire such a company, before refunding the security deposit to your tenant, you have to check whether the property is in the same condition as when it was rented. Precisely, the security deposit is to cover possible damages found. But if we are talking about a massive disruption, the security deposit may not be enough. This is when you should start claiming for the material damage to your property using the legal defence guarantee. But in order for your insurance company to take over a case, there are a number of requirements that must be met.

The simplest way is to prove that the damage was caused by the tenant and to provide a report compiling all such damages. A good way to get ahead of this dilemma is to insert a requirement in the rental agreement that identifies the foundations that make up part of the contents of the rental property, along with photographs illustrating its condition. In order to obtain relevant evidence to substantiate a claim, it is recommended that you:

  • If possible, hand over the keys with one or two witnesses.
  • Take a photograph of the condition of the property.
  • Damage assessment by experts.

Although the best way to avoid all of the above is to call a notary for the handover of the keys so that the state of the house is legally registered.

In general, in order to be effective, it should not exceed two months from the termination of the contract. Otherwise, it would be more difficult to prove that the damage was caused by the outgoing tenant. It is also a prerequisite that the damage is very visible and cannot be interpreted as a consequence of the daily use of the house.

What steps should be taken when the lease ends?

The first thing to do when the tenancy ends is to inspect the house to check for damage, if any.

Tenants are obliged to keep the property in good condition, but that does not mean that any damage is compensable.

Precedent states that all damage resulting from normal use is not recoverable. In other words, you must prove that the damage involved was not due to wear and tear from the use of the house itself.

But what if it is your insurance that has to pay?

Your tenant destroying your home may already be covered by your policy, depending on the contract you have signed. If your home insurance considers vandalism as one of the risks it covers, it will be borne by whoever is responsible for the damage. The process is much simpler, as you only have to notify your insurance company. Taking photographs of the damage to the property caused by the tenant can speed up the speed of expert opinion. In fact, due to their digital professional services, some companies allow you to open reports from your phone using their app. They will be in charge of assessing the damage and making repairs. However, bear in mind that the company has set a maximum amount of compensation for this case. If the loss exceeds that amount, you will have to take it to court or claim against your tenant.

When can you bring a criminal action for damages against a tenant?

In order to understand that the offence of damage has occurred, first of all, it will be necessary to see, first of all, that the damage has been caused or the house has been deteriorated. This damage can occur both to the house and to the furniture or household appliances owned by the landlord. It is important to note that the criminal relevance of such damage does not require malice or intent to harm. Therefore, the offence of damage can be intentional and malicious, or reckless and unconscious.

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