Landlords and Tenants: Dealing with Security Deposits Part 1

Landlord and Tenant IssuesLandlord and tenant disputes often center around security deposits. It is all to often owners want to deduct Tenant’s to death when they move out. It is important for all parties to understand the purpose and rules governing security deposits before signing  a lease or rental agreement. Everything is great when a tenant is moving in, the landlord is happy, the tenant is eager to have the stress of moving behind them.  At move-out time,  the tenant cleans the home and prepares to move-out only to find out the landlord is keeping half of their deposit to repair things like nail holes, cleaning, broken window shades and more.  Can a landlord do this ? Presidio offers all of our clients the comprehensive Landlord-Tenant Guide 2011 . to help answer these and many more questions. But the answer is generally NO.

Before Move-In- Property Owners  should deliver the home broom clean to a new tenant. The home should be cleaned top to bottom.  Meaning the carpets, windows, bathrooms, counters, cabinets should all be in the best possible condition. This should be documented in both the lease and as well as a separate detailed move in inspection form. If you are a tenant and you run across anything less I wouldn’t rent it. It is likely you will have problems down the road.

Rule -1  Have a well documented move-in and move out inspection form and document who will clean what on the lease agreement.

Normal Wear and Tear– When a tenant pays a landlord rent part of this rent goes to cover normal wear and tear. If the tenant leaves a few nail holes, the walls have some scuffs, etc. the landlord can’t deduct a penny if the tenant has lived there more than a year.

Our next post will cover the correct process for handling a tenant move-out.

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