How do we go about assessing cost of damage if we didn't have security deposit at time of initial lease signing and subsequent renewal? 6 Answers as of February 26, 2014

We have a tenant who's been in our condo with 2 others for 1 full year lease and (to date) 1/2 year month to month lease. One tenant has private bath, and other 2 share the bath in question. We didn't require Security Dep. from tenants at time of initial lease signing and subsequent renewal. However, discovered month to month tenant lost balance in shower and landed against back wall of 20 yr old fiberglass shower panel creating a 16" crack down and totally thru the wall (previously in good condition). Don't know how to go about assessing cost of damage to him and in what amount. If we just patch for now, cost minimal to us and him, however, entire tub and surround would have to be replaced causing loss of income to us before we could sell Condo in future. Please advice on how to determine how much damage can be assessed to tenant for replacement/damage, etc. Thank you.

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Stuart P Gelberg
Stuart P Gelberg | Stuart P Gelberg
Why do you believe the tenant is liable? Showers don't ordinarily break when someone falls. Sounds like defective materials or construction. The terms of a month to month lease can be changed on 30 days notice. Ask for a security deposit.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/26/2014
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
Why do you not get an estimate for the repair and replacement of the tub wall, etc., from a specialist in that product installation? The tenant may say that it is foreseeable that someone would slip in the shower and cause the damage and he was not negligent so should not have to pay anything. You should always demand a security deposit [not just last months rent ]! If the tenant can not afford it then you probably do not want them as a tenant as they are likely to skip out without paying last months rent. Every time the lease renews you can change the terms of whether or not there is a security deposit.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/26/2014
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
The first place to go is to your insurance carrier for your renter's insurance. Hopefully your would then charge the party who damaged it the deductable. If that does not give you sufficient satisfaction then see an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/26/2014
Malia Law LLC | Glen P. Malia
Get an estimate as to how much it will cost to repair or replace the damaged shower to determine how to assess the damage. Generally, in NYS, you are not entitled to any additional money for the rent lost while repairing the apartment after tenant have vacated.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/25/2014
S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
The decision is basically yours to make as to which route you wish to go. It might be better to make the full repairs now, see what the damages are and negotiate something with the tenant as to how much you want him to pay and over what period of time ( e . g . pay half the damages at an extra $50/mo added to his rent). You might also wish him to pay the entire amount up front, as you would be entitled to do, but that might discourage him from remaining and you might lose an otherwise good-paying tenant in the process.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 2/25/2014
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