Dealing with Damage

Although we would all love our rental guests to treat our properties with the utmost respect, damage of some sort will undoubtedly occur. If you have ensured a good match of client for your property by talking with them and creating a relationship, it is rare that you will encounter anything other than accidental damage. However, spills, stains and accidental breakage are a part of the risk you need to accept before taking on rentals. It’s also a good idea to have a plan for how you will deal with damage and/or any other incidents.

Although we would all love our rental guests to treat our properties with the utmost respect, damage of some sort will undoubtedly occur. If you have ensured a good match of client for your property by talking with them and creating a relationship, it is rare that you will encounter anything other than accidental damage. However, spills, stains and accidental breakage are a part of the risk you need to accept before taking on rentals. It’s also a good idea to have a plan for how you will deal with damage and/or any other incidents.

Cleaning

If you want your rental guests to leave your property in a certain way then they must be given the tools to do the job and clear instructions on what you want them to do. You should therefore ensure there is a plentiful supply of cleaning materials and equipment provided, together with a comprehensive pre-departure cleaning checklist detailing exactly how you want the property to be left.

It is important to note that renter expectations are changing and either including a cleaning service within the rental fee or offering it as an option is preferred.

Damage

As with cleaning issues, occasionally you will need to decide if damage has occurred that goes beyond ‘normal wear and tear’. In general, incidents that point towards negligent behavior are those that may be considered claim–worthy, for example, a countertop burnt by a hot pan, or a broken window, or any damage clearly caused by a pet such as a scratched door. You may want to overlook damage that is easily repaired, particularly if the rental group has been good in every other respect. Think about whether you would be happy for them to return to the property – if this is the case, we would recommend erring on the side of understanding rather than claiming for minor accidental damage.

Occasionally items may go missing such as a sheet or pillow cover, or table/kitchen linens. Often these are found later in an obscure location. If not, a phone call to the rental guest often results in the item being found as it was accidentally packed and taken home.

Removing Emotion

In the unlikely event that guests have not respected your property in the way you prefer, it is normal to feel upset about the situation. Your first response is often to want to ‘punish’ the renters for the emotional distress caused. However, take some time and once you consider the objective aspects of the situation you’ll find you are better able to assess the claim based on physical evidence only.

Claiming on Damage Deposit

If you take a refundable damage deposit and decide you have a reasonable claim on it, you need to do the following within 48 hours of the rental being completed:

• Contact the renter and let them know you are making a claim
• Make a clear statement of the assessed damage
• Provide photographic and date-stamped evidence
• Supply an invoice or quotation for repair or replacement
• Deduct the amount claimed and return the balance

High Value Damage

Where the damage claim is beyond the amount you are holding as a damage deposit, contact your insurers.