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What can I deduct from my tenant’s security deposit?

As a landlord, collecting a security deposit from your tenants is an essential part of renting out your property. It provides an added level of security for both parties, assuring that any damage caused by the tenant during their stay can be rectified without the landlord incurring additional costs. However, it is equally important to know the limitations of what you can deduct from your tenant’s security deposit. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what you can and cannot deduct from your tenant’s security deposit.

Unpaid Rent
If a tenant leaves without paying rent, you are entitled to deduct the rent amount from their security deposit. However, make sure to keep receipts, lease agreement, and any correspondence with the tenant in case of disputes.

Cleaning and Repairs
Dirty carpets, walls with holes, or damaged appliances can result in a deduction from your tenant’s security deposit. Generally, landlords will hire a professional cleaning service to restore the rental property to its original condition and make necessary repairs. Charges for cleaning or repairs should be itemized with receipts to avoid any future disputes.

If your tenant has a pet, you can charge them a separate pet deposit. The pet deposit can be used to cover any damages caused by the pet. In addition, you can charge for any cleaning or repairs necessary due to the pet’s presence.

Personal Property
You cannot deduct from your tenant’s security deposit for any stolen personal property or damage to the tenant’s possessions that are not property of the landlord. Be sure to keep this in mind when matching damages to the renter’s property or personal belongings.

Normal wear and tear
Normal wear and tear is the acceptable decay of a rental property due to its normal operation. Examples of normal wear and tear are fading of paint or wallpaper, or worn carpets. Normal wear and tear cannot be deducted from your tenant’s security deposit.

In summary, knowing what you can and cannot deduct from your tenant’s security deposit is essential in running a successful landlord-tenant relationship. The deductions must be fair, documented, and lawful. The best approach is to be upfront with tenants about your expectations of maintaining the rental property, the acceptable amount of damage, and the consequences of breaching the lease agreement. By setting clear expectations, you can ensure that both you and your tenants are satisfied with the rental experience.

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