Your Tenant “Trashed” Your House! — No They Didn’t, And Here’s Why.

It’s finally happened – you found out that your tenant has “trashed” your home. It’s what you’ve always feared. You put careful consideration and money into finding this asset and now your tenant has made a mess and damaged it. 

But have they, really? Chances are, they haven’t. Your property is likely just fine. Whether it’s down to your differing standards for living or your nervousness around an asset in your portfolio, it may be the case that your tenant has not “trashed” your home and you may just be having a bit of an over-reaction. Deep breath now, and let’s discuss. 

Everyone has different notions of “clean”

People tend to expect other people to live with the same cleanliness standards as their own, when lifestyles actually vary widely. Some tenants are very clean, others are messy, and there’s no way to know which type you’ll get. What’s more, what is “clean” to you may be obsessive and unlivable to someone else. Some people don’t expect things to be neat as a pin, and they may think leaving a cup of coffee on the table for a day or so is just fine. Trying to make room for other perspectives can be difficult, especially as it relates to a valuable asset, but it is necessary in this context. 

Dealing with your own expectations

When you own an investment property, you have to face the facts– your tenant is just passing through. To that end, they just might not take the same pride of place in your house that they might if it were their own. It’s unreasonable to expect that a tenant, who likely knows they will only be living in your house for a few years, will treat it the same way you treat your personal residence. Harsh reality, but it’s true. 

Messiness is not the end of the world 

Some of us view messiness as destruction, but it’s really not. Having a bit of disorder around is not going to break your property. Some people’s bookshelves are organized by author and alphabet and others have bookshelves that are a ramshackle pile of books. Some use their bookshelves to stack dirty dishes. There is a big gap between just being generally messy or disorganized and engaging in behaviors that could potentially impact a property to create serious or long-term damage. 

Things can be fixed

If– and that’s a big if– a tenant has actually done damage to your home, these dents and dings can be fixed. In truth, it takes some pretty hard living to “trash” any home. Small cosmetic errors are to be expected and are built into the expected maintenance costs on a property. Even bigger problems such as clogs in the plumbing system due to an errant toy getting flushed should not bust your budget. Careful consideration of common maintenance issues, quick response to maintenance calls , as well as proactive annual maintenance checks should all help to ensure that a) your property is just fine and, b) you don’t face any unexpected costs. 

Owning a property can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Give yourself a break on this one. If you’re working with the right property management team and learn to manage your expectations, these issues shouldn’t worry you at all. 

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