To protect your Santa Cruz rental property from tenant damage, you’ll want to screen potential tenants thoroughly, collect an adequate security deposit, and develop tenant relationships based on trust and respect.

Even with every precaution and outstanding tenants, renting out a property is a risky business. You may find yourself facing damages that are beyond what you’ve collected in security deposit funds. 

This is rare, especially if you’re working with Santa Cruz property managers. But you do want to be prepared in case it happens to one of your properties. 

Document and Repair the Damage to your Santa Cruz Investment Property

It’s helpful to do a pre-move out inspection with your tenants so you can get an idea of what you’re dealing with in terms of damage and wear and tear. But, if a tenant is leaving behind a lot of problems, it’s likely they’ll decline your offer of this pre-move out inspection. 

So, once they’ve moved out, you’ll do a complete inspection. Document the damage you find in detail, with photographs and notes. Compare the condition now to the way the property looked before the tenant moved in. When you make a claim for damages, you’ll need to be able to document what you’ve had to repair. 

Always have your best vendors and contractors lined up to complete the repairs that are needed. Not only do you want to send a complete itemized statement and a bill for what the tenant still owes you; you also want to rent the property out again as quickly as possible. A long vacancy period in addition to extra repair costs will be expensive. 

Send a Letter within 21 Days

California law requires that you return the security deposit within 21 days. You won’t be returning any money when the damage goes beyond the deposit amount, but you will want to send your accounting of damages. Highlight the amount that is still owed by the tenant, and provide a deadline by which you expect payment to be made. 

You might get a payment right away. In some cases, tenants will want to protect their reputation and their ability to maintain a positive rental history. However, this is unfortunately not common. Usually, tenants will ignore your demands for payment and your attempt to collect what they owe. Unfortunately, you have very little leverage since they’ve already moved out of your property. 

Benefits of Santa Cruz Property Management

professional property managerWorking with professional Santa Cruz property managers can help you both avoid extreme tenant damage and allow you to have a better chance of recouping money that’s owed. When your tenant owes you more than what the security deposit covered, you can send a demand for payment. Maybe your tenant will pay, but it’s likely they will not. You can continue to try to collect that money with phone calls, letters, and even a court judgment. There’s no guarantee you’ll get paid. 

This is one of the risks that comes with renting out a home in Santa Cruz and throughout California. Most of the tenants we have seen come and go treat homes well and respectfully. It’s rare that we’ve had a tenant create more damage than what the deposit will cover. But, it can happen, and you need to be prepared. 

We can help you if you find yourself in this situation now or if you’re putting together processes in order to help you avoid it. Please contact us at Real Estate Eight Three One. 

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