When damage or neglect causes a tenant to lose a security deposit in Roseville, CA, there can be disputes and disagreements. Landlords need to protect themselves against legal action by ensuring they thoroughly document the condition of the property before a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out. There are a few common reasons for why tenants don’t receive their full security deposits back at the end of a tenancy.
There are legal steps in place that instruct landlords on how to return a security deposit. The law defines that security deposit as money collected outside of rent to protect the landlord and the property if a tenant violates the lease. You can withhold money from the deposit for four specific reasons:
Unpaid rent, including outstanding utility bills and late fees.
Cleaning costs that bring the property to the same level of cleanliness that it was when the tenant moved in.
Repairing damage that goes beyond wear and tear.
Replacing or repairing furniture and keys that were damaged or lost by the tenant.
Landlords are required to offer their tenants a move out inspection two weeks before the day they plan to vacate the property. This provides the landlord and the tenant the opportunity to inspect the property and discuss any work that needs to be done prior to move out in order to avoid security deposit charges. Point out anything that needs to be cleaned or fixed.
Final Walk Through
After the tenants have moved out, the final walk through is conducted to inspect the condition of the property. Landlords should check everything, including the windows, flooring, filters and closets. Use the same checklist that was used during the move in process so you can accurately compare how the home looks.
One of the most complicated areas for landlords is cleanliness. You are entitled to get the property back in generally the same condition that it was when you turned it over to your tenants. However, everyone has different standards of cleanliness. It’s a good idea to hire a professional company to clean for you and include something in your rental agreement that instructs the tenants to have the carpets cleaned professionally before they move out.
As soon as the tenants move out, get vendors and contractors into the property right away to make any repairs. Keep the receipts and invoices because you’ll need to send them to the tenants when you’re making claims on their security deposit. Documentation is extremely important in proving what you spent on repairs after a tenant moves out.
Security Deposit Return
It’s important that you remain in compliance with California law when you’re returning the security deposit. You’re required to send it back to the tenant within 21 days of move out. If you’re keeping all or part of that deposit, you need to send an itemized statement within those 21 days.
Contact Action Properties if you have any to questions about when it’s appropriate to keep a tenant’s security deposit.