Accidental damage, malicious damage and deliberate damage – what’s the difference?

Every property we manage will be damaged at some point, it’s a fact of property ownership. While the majority of tenants don’t set out to cause damage, accidents do happen, just like they happen in your own home.

Recently we talked about the importance of Landlord Insurance and how it can protect you should your property be damaged, but did you know there are several different types of damage? Terri Scheer Insurance has provided the following info to help make the distinctions clearer.

Accidental Damage: An unexpected or sudden loss. This is generally something that is an accident and not planned or intentional. Examples include spills on carpet and damage to furniture.

Malicious Damage: Damage which was motivated by spite, malice or vindictiveness with the intention of causing damage. Examples include holes kicked/ punched in walls and doors, graffiti and doors knocked off their hinges. A police report is required for malicious damage claims.

Deliberate Damage: An act that will alter the current state of an item, however the act is carried out without any spite, malice or vindictiveness. An example is putting picture hooks into walls without permission. This is not a vindictive act, it is however a deliberate action but generally with the intent of making the property more homely.

Wear and tear: Damage which occurs naturally and inevitably simply because people reside in the property. Wear and tear occurs just as much in an owner occupied property as it does in a rental property and may include scuffmarks on walls, carpet in walkways appearing worn, small marks on lino etc.

Another area of contention can be ‘poor housekeeping’. This is where a tenant maintains a property in a poor condition but where no damage has occurred. This can include tenants who do not clean up after themselves, who don’t air their house, who don’t regularly clean areas such as carpets, ovens and bathrooms etc.

Wear and tear and poor housekeeping are generally not covered by an insurance policy, which is why we do thorough quarterly inspections. These help us identify issues before they become big problems.