How to protect your rental property against malicious damage. How can you reduce the chance of tenants causing malicious damage to your property.
What is malicious damage? Malicious damage is an action that’s carried out intending to cause harm. This isn’t the same as fair wear and tear, which is rental property damage that inevitably occurs during the course of a tenancy. It’s also different from accidental damage, which can be as costly as malicious damage but is something that happens by chance and is not deliberately planned. For example, dirty windows or threadbare curtains are considered to be fair wear and tear but a broken window is damage. It counts as malicious damage if your tenant shattered the glass on purpose, and it’s accidental damage if they kicked a football through it by mistake. Who pays for malicious damage to a rental property? As the landlord, you’re legally responsible for the repair and maintenance of a property. But if your tenants cause any damage – regardless of whether it’s accidental or malicious – you can deduct costs from their deposit. Malicious damage is also a crime. You could receive an additional pay-out of up to £2,500 if the courts find your tenant guilty. Deposit scheme arbitration and legal cases can be time-consuming and expensive, and they don’t always lead to a pay-out. Plus, if the damage is so great that you can’t afford to fix it straight away, you might not be able to let your property until these repairs are made, which could leave you out of pocket. What’s worse, if the vandalism is on the outside of the building, it could attract people who might cause more damage. So having the right insurance is important.