How to Handle small damage with tenant moving out?


New Forum Member
REIN Member
Hey guys,

So this will be the first time I have a tenant moving out of one of my units so I just wanted to see what some other people are doing with their tenants.

So my tenant has given me 2 months notice to move out, even though his lease is only half way through, I figure its better to keep the tenant happy so he keeps the place clean and in order for new viewings.

Now the question I am wondering is on my last inspection I noticed a few small holes in the wall on 2 seperate areas. Also they had a cat that stayed in the unit that they kept hidden from me until last month, so there are also quite alot of cat scratchs on most of the walls and window sills and a stain on the carpet in bedroom.

So since I have 2 months before the tenant moves out, and I am not sure if the $1200 will cover all the patching of drywall and fresh paint and carpet, should I try to get some of that work completed before move out so I can bill the customer right on the spot?

I have heard that normally people wait till the tenant moves out to do repairs since they may cause more damage while moving or prior to moving out. However, I thought it would be easier to get some of the work done before hand and bill him so its paid prior to move out, and then anything extra I can take out of the security deposit after he moves out?

Not sure if anyone uses this method or what is the best way to tackle this challenge. Would love to hear from all you experienced investors on what the best approach would be.

Thanks again in advance,


Real Estate Maven
REIN Member
Normally I would wait until the tenant is gone to do repairs. However, I would schedule a full inspection right away so you may "determine what repairs may be required at the end of tenancy" (or something to that effect for the notice of entry). That way you can schedule your handyman or contractor now for repairs on the last day of tenancy.

In marketing the suite, you can tell people you have booked repairs/upgrades to the suite, so either the suite won't be available until XXX day, or the new tenant may have possession but there will be contractors working for the first few days to improve the suite. Usually this works.


Real Estate Maven
REIN Member
Also, deliver a "move-out cleaning checklist" available in member resources, with a cover letter stating expectations (such as key return by noon on the last day of tenancy).

Depending on the province of the property, you may need to eventually deliver a "notice of exit inspection" giving two choices of inspection dates and times. With a tenant in good standing, we skip this and schedule with the tenant via text or email, but when a tenant is not ideal, we go by the book.


Investor, Realtor
REIN Member
Agree with what Sherilnn is saying. Usually we do an inspection when the tenant moves out, and if we notice the damage before hand, we would let them know that it's either they fix it themselves or we'll ask someone to fix it and the cost will come out from the deposit.

Depending on how well you know the tenants, I would say wait till they move out so they won't damage more when you've done the repair, and remember to take photos of the damage and including tenants in the photos doing the inspection.

Matt Crowley

Senior Forum Member
REIN Member
I'll go a little against the grain here and if I know the tenant well, I let them take care of most minor repairs. Using a bit of poly-filla and paint I provide is no big deal for a knowledgeable tenant. What you have here is a bit of a bigger problem...

You want to mitigate the damage as much as possible. All these conversations need to start with an inspection and follow that up with an in-person meeting to discuss the findings. At least that is what I like to do. Some of this depends on the relationship you currently have with your tenant. If you have been communicating regularly, it is pretty unusual for a problem larger than the DD to occur.

With my tenants, I would be respectful but explain that if there is more damage to the suite than their DD that I have the legal right to collect it. Both of us have an interest in minimizing the extent of the repairs because it will cost them less and will take me less time to rent out the suite again. So it just makes sense to keep the place as clean as possible and ensure no further damage occurs.

I would wait until the tenant leaves to make the repairs. Bill for anything above the DD.


Inspired Forum Member
The other thing into make sure you have a very detailed move out report and take lots of pictures. Also make sure you do it all by the book so if it becomes an issue you have all your bases covered. I would also talk to them to mention that any loses from this making the unit unrentable are their responsibility while repairs are made as it is a legal contract.

Alvaro Sanchez

Ottawa-Gatineau Investor
Move-in/out inspections are a must to document conditions and actually set the tone. However, as part of your business, you should budget repairs such paint, drywall, carpets (if any), cleaning, etc. and factor them into your cost and rent. If damages are more than normal wear/tear then advice them in advance that you will be invoicing them for repairs and labor.

Also, I would not let them off the lease just like that as they are bound to the contract. You can help find a suitable replacement to assign lease but they still responsible for full term of the lease. You can also negotiate an early termination if cost of repairs/marketing/etc are covered.