Nobody likes to have to do things that may cause a upset for tenants. We’ve talked a little bit about selling a home that has someone in it, but what happens if you end up dealing with some hostility? This isn’t a common thing, but at some point in your career, you might find yourself dealing with the horror story to be that is: the angry tenant.

Some people come to a point where they really feel they have nothing to lose. The most frequent reason that we see this is related to evictions. A tenant becomes angry as eviction proceedings occur, and seek revenge. This is usually in the form of property damage. Smashed windows, ripped carpets or worse, holes in the walls, theft of appliances- all of these things have been reported and then some.

One such story out of South Carolina involved a tenant who was being evicted for being 3 months behind on the rent. Landlord Diana Ryan said that the tenant deliberately trashed the trailer after threatening her, “She told us to my face that she was going to do this and there was nothing I could do about it because the law was not going to make her do anything about it.”

Though Ryan didn’t have much recourse in that situation, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from an angry tenant. The key in these situations is to make sure that you are documenting everything. Unfortunately, these situations are sometimes impossible to avoid, but here’s what you can do to hopefully recover from the damage caused.

Unfortunately, you may discover as Ryan did, that this is a civil matter, but it’s still important to file a police report, anyway. If the damages were heavy and items of high dollar amounts were stolen, criminal charges may still yet be pursued. In any case, this will also provide important documentation.

Taking photos and video is important to document the extent of the damages, and you need to do this the moment you discover it. If you do plan to take the case to court, having this documentation will help you. As you do this, be sure that the images are time and date stamped.

Begin shopping for and taking bids from contractors in respect to how much it will cost to correct the damage. Save copies of these bids or any invoices. It’s best to go ahead and get things back in order to minimize any losses as a result.

Also remember to protect yourself when deducting from the security deposit. Unfortunately, these situations usually exceed whatever amount you have in escrow, but, depending on your state’s laws, you still may have to itemize an invoice to send within a set amount of time.

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Kurt Kroeck has written articles in real estate, law, and art related niches for a number of high profile publications. He is an avid WW2 re-enactor, artist in graphite, charcoal, and digital media. He volunteers in animal rescue and enjoys spending time with his children.

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