My Tenant Has Never Heard of "Small Nails", and It Cost Them...

Property Manager with Investors Choice Property Management CAL BRE LIC# 01124954

We just pulled off a small miracle this week. Our tenants moved out of their home on Tuesday, we had the home painted Wednesday, cleaned Thursday, carpets cleaned Friday, and new tenants moved in Saturday morning. Even for professional property management, that is a pretty tight turnover.

What should have been a very easy turnover was complicated by our ex-tenants use of anchor, or "molly" bolts.

While it was evident that the home they lived in was kept quite nice over the past 18 months, we did not know the damage that was hiding under every wall hanging. The walls of our 2400sf 4-bedroom home were studded with molly bolts, at least 3 on EVERY wall.

Molly bolts are typically used to mount heavy wall hangings (mirrors, etc.). Our tenants used them to hang calendars, 5x8 picture frames, you name it.

New paint is based on a 3-year lifespan, so we could only charge the ex-tenant for 50% of the touch-up paint cost. However, we maintain that any hole larger than a nail hole is treated as wall damage, and is therefore considered beyond normal wear and tear.

As we dug deeper into the move out condition, it was clear there were more hidden surprises in store. The ex tenants made off with all 6 smoke alarm batteries, the garage remote batteries, half the light bulbs, and a host of other items that would be easy to miss if we were not being so thorough.

Comprehensive inspections are vital at both move-in and upon vacancy, to insure that the Landlord's interests are protected, as well as to maintain a policy of honesty and fair dealing with the Tenants.

Comments (5)

Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

Tennants can get pretty petty, taking light bulbs and batteries... Fun Stuff!

May 10, 2009 04:22 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Good for you.  Tenants like that simply drive up the incidental costs to all tenants. 

Seems to me that a clause in the lease about "no wall hangings" is not unreasonable, unless there is a 5 year lease and significant damage deposit. 

Driving nails in a wall is significant damage.


May 10, 2009 05:28 AM
Sheila Moran
RE/MAX Access (Garden Ridge, San Antonio, New Braunfels) - New Braunfels, TX, RE/MAX Access, 210-32


We call my Dad the "molly bolt man", when I read this post I just busted out laughing!  (must of been some distant relative of his that rented your place!)

You are correct...they cause so much damage to the sheetrock...yikes!

May 10, 2009 05:56 AM
Kathy Toth
Ann Arbor Market Center Keller Williams - Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor Real Estate Experts - Kathy Toth Team

I always find molly bolts more trouble than they're worth unless absolutely necessary. Not surprised someone who would use these things so extensively would also think it wise to take such mundane items as batteries and light bubls.

May 10, 2009 01:42 PM
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

It always amazes me what tenants will do. We had one family once who had a yard sale before they moved and they sold a wall mirror that belonged to the house. 

May 11, 2009 01:00 PM