Becoming a landlord required you to make a significant investment. Unfortunately, destruction on the part of your tenant may threaten your financial future. No matter how carefully you screen potential renters, there is no guarantee that your tenants will take good care of your property.

According to Florida law, you do have rights as a landlord. These rights include receiving property back at the end of the rental period in good shape. If your tenant has caused damage, you can do something about it.

Assess responsibility

Damage may be inadvertent or accidental. In that case, your tenant may admit fault and agree to pay for repairs.

In other cases, the tenant may deny responsibility or refuse to pay for repairs. You may not discover the destruction until the renter has gone. These circumstances can make the situation much more difficult for you as the landlord.

Document damage

Take detailed pictures of the harm done to your property. If the tenant is occupying the home, give at least 12 hours’ notice that you will need to enter. Filing a police report may add authority to your documentation, even if the loss does not warrant criminal charges.

Initiate repairs

If the tenant is already gone, begin repairs immediately. If you are removing the renter, Florida’s eviction laws require appropriate advance notice. Depending on your rental agreement, this can delay progress from seven to 60 days.

You will likely pay for repairs initially, with your insurance covering some expenditures. You may be able to withhold part or all of the security deposit. If you locate the tenants who damaged your property, you may be able to recover some or all of the money. It may be frustrating, but the law is on your side.