If I find out a tenant did not report water damage in a rental unit, can I charge the tenant for the cost of repairs?

can I charge the tenant for the cost of repairs?

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer so nothing I state here should be taken as legal advice in any way.

Yes, of course you can. This would be considered negligent behavior on their part. The problem you might have is proving how much responsibility they have toward paying for the damage because you are going to have to convince the judge of how much
additional damage was done due to them not reporting the issue. You are also going to have to convince the judge that they knew about the issue and at what point they knew about it.

Here is an example: let’s assume an upstairs bath developed a leak behind the toilet. That water leaked under a tile floor. Over time the plywood starts to rot. The wood got so wet it starts to drip on the downstairs ceiling and starts to make those brown rings.

Now, reasonably, as soon as the brown rings start to appear, someone should have seen this, but even if the tenant had reported the rings as soon as hey appear, how much damage had already been done to the bathroom floor. This is where things get tricky and all I can say is good luck.

Just as an FYI, I have a section in my leases that talks to this issue and pretty much states that if a tenant fails to report any issue and that issue results in damages to the property, then the tenant will be fully
responsible for ALL costs incurred to correct or fix the issue.

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