The day is here — your tenants are moving out, new tenants are secured, and your property manager is getting ready to do the exit inspection and release the tenant’s bond payment. Everything’s going smoothly until your tenant damages the property as they’re moving out. Unfortunately, accidents like this happen. Bulky furniture must make its way down narrow hallways, and front doors become a tight squeeze. If your property manager has maintained open communication with the tenants, making repairs is relatively straightforward. Keep reading to learn what to do if your tenant damages your property when they move out.

Make sure damage is documented in writing

The exit condition report should note any property damage (outside fair wear and tear) in writing. This provides documentation to make it clear that the tenant caused the damage. Further, your property manager should also call the tenants to discuss the damage if the tenant didn’t get on the front foot and report it. After the call, sending an email summarising what was discussed, and the next steps is essential. The objective here is not only having thorough documentation, but if the matter can’t be settled directly with the tenant and ends up at an administrative tribunal, it provides evidence to support your claim.

Organise repair quotes and choose a trades person

Your property manager should liaise with the tenant to discuss the damage and how it will be repaired. At this point, the tenant may opt to organise their own quotes and repair works. Payment for this option will often come out of the tenant’s own pocket. Alternatively, your property manager can make all the arrangements, and the payment can be deducted from the tenant’s bond, provided this complies with the relevant residential tenancy legislation in your jurisdiction.

Inspect the repairs

Once the repairs are complete, your property manager should inspect the work to ensure it’s completed thoroughly and won’t cause any other subsequent problems at the property. Again, documentation is key. Your property manager should take photos of the repairs, make notes in the exit condition report that the repairs were completed, and notify the tenant in writing that the damage is repaired and the matter is settled. Of course, as the landlord, you have a right to inspect the property and make sure the repairs are up to your standards.

Accidents are a normal part of life, but it doesn’t make the prospect of damage to your property any less frustrating. Your property manager should always keep communication open with your tenants, especially at the end of the lease. If any damage occurs, the most important things to do are document what happened in writing, organise repair quotes, choose a trades person, and inspect the completed work to ensure it’s of a high standard. In most cases, tenants take good care of a property, and any damage caused upon moving out can be resolved with clear communication and payment from the tenant.