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What To Do If Your Rental Property Has Damage

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What To Do If Your Rental Property Has Damage
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Although being a landlord in London can be an extremely lucrative endeavour, it does come with some unpredictable drawbacks, which can cost you a lot of money. One such example is having your rental property damaged by the tenant.

If that’s something you’re going through right now, we understand your frustration. However, the damage is already done. We can’t bring back time, and all we can do is start to explore the best way to approach the situation to minimise the time, effort, and financial investment necessary to bring your rental property back to normal.

If you’re lost and don’t know what to do next, this article is just for you. In the next few sections, we’re going to help you understand:

  • Who is responsible for the damages
  • Your rights as a landlord when your property is damaged
  • What to do to prevent damage to your rental property in the future

But before we do any of that, let’s first take a look at what is classed as wear and tear and what is classed as damage. That way, you can accurately assess the situation and decide on an appropriate plan of action.

What’s the difference between wear and tear and damage?

Wear and tear refers to gradual deterioration, which happens as a result of normal and intended use. Damage, on the other hand, refers to the intentional or unintentional harm (which is usually beyond repair) inflicted upon your property that goes beyond the expected effects of regular use.

To give you a very basic example, we’ll use a carpet as an example. Over time, it is expected for a carpet to lose its shine, get dirty, and have some marks. That’s the textbook description of wear and tear, which is normal. If a tenant cuts the carpet or spills red wine all over it, that’s damage – whether the action leading to the damage was intentional or not.

Who is responsible for the damages?

Although you are the legal owner of the property, since the tenant lives in it and has signed a tenancy agreement, they are responsible for all of the damages caused to the property. This is also true, even if they weren’t the ones that did the damage. According to British law, tenants have the legal responsibility to take adequate care of the property and keep it clean and safe for living.

Your rights as a landlord (when your property is damaged)

If your rental property has been damaged, your first line of defence is using some or all of the deposit to carry out the necessary repair work to bring your property back to its original state. Please note that according to British law, landlords can only withhold some or all of the deposit for carrying out repairs as a result of damage – not general wear and tear.

If the damages end up costing more than the damage deposit, your next step should be sending your tenant a letter of demand. This letter will act as an invoice, which the tenant needs to pay for the damages that they have caused to your property during their tenancy agreement.

In case your letter of demand is ignored, you can try and claim the damages through a small claims court. While we can’t give you any legal advice on the matter, we can recommend you consult with a professional.

Things you can do to prevent damage to your rental property in the future

Going through such an unfortunate situation will teach you a lot on its own. However, here are a handful of things that you can do in the future to prevent or at least minimise your chance of ever having your property damaged by a tenant in the future:

Conduct regular inspections

This may seem like common sense, but most landlords tend never to visit their property while it’s being rented out. Some see it as intrusive, but it’s not. And according to the law – it’s perfectly legal (as long as you give your tenants at least 24-hour notice).

Insure your property

By law, landlords don’t need to insure their property. And that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make in an attempt to save money and increase your profit margins. When renting out your property, you want to get the best and most comprehensive insurance you can, even if it costs a little bit of money. That way, no matter what happens, your property will be protected.

Be more selective with future tenants

As the owner of the property, you are the one who gets to choose who gets to rent it from you. A common mistake most landlords make is renting out their property to just about anyone. Ideally, what you want to do is meet the tenants and see what they’re like first.


Having your rental property damaged is never a fun experience to deal with. If you’re going through such an unfortunate situation, knowing your rights and the steps that you should take from here is key to finding a timely resolution.

Alternatively, if you no longer want to be a landlord, you can sell your house fast, unlock the cash value of your rental property, and move on. If that’s something you want to explore, get in touch with our team today. Within just a few minutes, we’re going to give you a free, no-obligation cash offer for your rental property in London (regardless of the state that it’s in).

That way, you don’t need to wonder how hard it is to sell a property in London right now or figure out a way to do it. Instead, we’ll help you sell your property, and you can receive your funds as quickly as within just 7 days.

Free cash offer within minutes, any condition, any location.

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