What to do with the security deposit once the tenant has left the unit

Well there are those bad landlords who know there are rules but don’t follow them, hoping that the tenant does not know any better.  So lets try to find out what is the right way to go about things.

 What can the landlord withhold the security deposit for?

  • Unpaid rent
  • Damage due to breach of lease
  • Damage by the tenant
  • Damage by the tenant’s family, agents, employees, guests or invitees in excess of ordinary wear and tear to the leased premises, common areas, or appliances, and furnishing owned by the landlord.

 Normal wear and tear can be a tricky subject, depending on the item/s in question and how long the tenant was in the unit.

 The landlord must provide the tenant a clear list of all damage to the property, and provide receipts for work completed in order to prove what security depoist funds were kept for.

In a perfect world, this is what would take place.

  •  The tenant notifies the landlord, via certified mail, that they will be moving out of the unit in accordance to the lease (i.e., 30 days, 60 days, etc.).
  • The tenant must to notify the landlord that he/she would like to be present during the inspection; the tenant needs to make sure the landlord knows they want to be present at least fifteen days prior to moving out.
  •  The landlord will then inform the tenant when the inspection will be, keeping in mind that it needs be within five days before or five days after the tenant has moved out.  The tenant has a right to be at the inspection.

 A landlord that attempts to use the security deposit to offset for breach of lease, the landlord can only claim the actual amount of money lost due to the tenant/s breach.  If the landlord is able to re-rent unit before the end of the tenants term, the actual damages are reduced by the amount the landlord gains from the new lease.

Next installment will talk about pet deposits.

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