Linda via FlckrWhen a tenant moves out you'll need to determine if you're keeping their deposit, and if you are how much. This will depend on the state of the property when you do your inspection. Normal wear and tear is expected and should not warrant any less of their deposit being returned, but damage may allow you to keep part of the deposit to cover those costs. Telling the difference between normal wear and tear and damage is where many landlords find themselves in difficult territory.

As with all landlord-tenant laws and regulations, you'll want to check your local laws to make sure you're not charging for something prohibited, but in general small scuffs, nail holes, and marks left in the carpet from furniture would be considered normal wear and tear. What is considered for this is certainly not limited to these things, but they are basically the signs of a person living there. Things that would certainly not be covered (once again, in general) would be broken windows, pet stains, and holes in the wall. These would be the sort of things that you would take from the deposit to cover. If it's a pet stain in the carpet or any other damage done by an animal, that will be taken from the pet deposit.

As a landlord, regular inspections can help catch small problems before they become big ones. The goal for both parties should always be to have the whole deposit returned. This allows the tenant to receive their money back and the landlord to know that the tenant took good care of their property and that they'll have to spend less time getting it ready for the next tenant. A walk-through with the tenant is always a good idea so that you can point out issues before they leave the property entirely.

POSTED July 22 2014 10:30 AM

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