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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
Our tenants will be moving out the end of the month. We just found out that they have burned our laminate countertops with a coffee pot. How much of the cost are they responsible for covering? It is part of one large continuous piece of the counter, but the tenant claimed we can just have the spot cut out and patched, which we do not want to have a visible seem across the top of the counters. Can we charge them for the cost of replacing the whole continuous piece? Also, if we cannot find the same laminate and have to replace the rest of the counters in the kitchen, are they responsible for that or do we have to eat that part of the cost ourselves? Thanks for any help!

Posts: 580
Reply with quote  #2 
I would go for the whole thing. They ruined a big thing that isn't normally patched, that's on them. If they were to break the glass on an oven and you could fix the glass, it wouldn't be reasonable to charge them for the whole oven. But it isn't reasonable/normal to just patch one spot on a counter or to have mismatched counters, so I would strongly argue that they are liable for the whole thing. If they take you to court over it, then maybe look into it a little more, but I don't think a judge would expect you to try to rent a place with a patched countertop like the tenant is wanting you to do.

Posts: 246
Reply with quote  #3 
I think you can only charge for the depreciated value.  Not the replacement cost.  

I would use the 27.5 year useful life for the house as the basis for depreciation.  How long has the property been a rental?  Assign a value to the countertop from when it was installed and depreciate it accordingly. 

(Original value) x (number of rental years x 1/27.5) = Depreciated cost

Original Value - Depreciated Cost = Residual Value

I agree it's not reasonable to patch it.  You need to replace the section if possible. Only charge them for the section you replaced. 

AccidentalRental - Helping Homeowners Become Landlords


Posts: 3,817
Reply with quote  #4 
If this is laminate counter, it can be patched without notice. By patched, I do not mean cutting out a section. The top laminate layer of that piece needs removed and replaced, while the wood composite counter underneath stays in place. A 6 foot section of laminate costs between $25-50. Of course, the labor to do this is much more. This is not a DIY, but needs done by someone who makes counters. This assumes it is flat countertop, standard laminate, and that the pattern is still available. A pro can do this so you cant even tell it's been done. However, if the pattern is discontinued, you may need to replace it all.
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