Today, we are offering a bit of security deposit advice for both owners and tenants. If you put a group of property managers together in one room, they are all going to tell you that this is one of the toughest areas they deal with on a regular basis. Security deposits and how much gets refunded and withheld are really hard because normal wear and tear is very much a subjective topic. What is “normal” will really depend on the length of the tenancy in a rental property. If someone has been in the property for one year, wear and tear is going to be a lot less than it would be for people who have been in a property for 10 years.
There are some things you can do to try and minimize the stress involved in handling the security deposits. At Real Estate Eight Three One, we do a couple of things that are very helpful to both our owners and our tenants.
Do a good walk through at move in and move out times. You need to thoroughly inspect the condition of the property before a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out. Comparing what the property looks like at both times will help you determine what is normal wear and tear and what is damage that needs to be paid for out of the deposit. Your process should include video at both times. Having that documentation will be very helpful in settling any security deposit disputes with your tenant.
Tenants should do their own walk through. We always encourage our tenants to do an inspection of their own before they move out of the property. This gives them an opportunity to identify any areas in the home that need to be addressed before we come through to inspect.
Settle all security deposit issues and refunds within 21 days of the move out date. You have to get any funds from the security deposit back to the tenant within that timeframe. We are very careful about this because the law requires us to refund the security deposit within 21 days of vacancy, and tenants will be expecting all or part of that deposit back.
Hopefully, this has helped to provide you with some tools for better managing your security deposits. If you have any questions or you’d like more information on this topic or anything pertaining to the management of your property, please contact us at Real Estate Eight Three One.