Security deposit deductions cannot include general wear and tear items. Those repairs and replacements are an Orlando landlord’s responsibility. You cannot charge a tenant for new paint, for example, just because there are tiny nail holes in a wall or scuff marks from where a sofa was resting.
When a tenant moves out of your property and you conduct a move-out inspection, what are you looking for? What can you deduct from a tenant’s security deposit?
We’re highlighting three acceptable security deposit deductions.
1. Deduct for Orlando Rental Property Damage
When a tenant causes damage to your property, you should hold them accountable by making deductions from the security deposit. Always document the property damage you find. Ideally, you will have a move-in condition report with photos that accurately reflects the way your property looked before the tenants moved in. The damage will show up when you compare that report to the move-out condition report.
Tenant damage is often the result of abuse, misuse, or neglect. Large holes in the walls, cabinet doors dangling from their hinges, and huge tears or stains in carpet could be considered damage. Broken windows, dented appliances, and plumbing that’s backed up because inappropriate things were flushed down the toilet are all examples of damage. Sometimes, it’s accidental. But it’s still damage and your tenants are still responsible for it. You can pay for those repairs and replacements with the deposit.
2. Use the Security Deposit for Unpaid Rent
One of the reasons you collect a security deposit is to protect yourself from the potential of unpaid rent. The money is fair game when tenants move out with a balance.
Maybe there was a partial payment made one month. Maybe your tenant missed a payment and then never really got caught up. Perhaps you did not move towards an eviction – or even if you did – the tenant is leaving now, and you have that security deposit. You can use it to pay for the rent that was not paid previously.
The security deposit can be used to bring the account current after the tenant leaves. You never want the tenant to miss a month, but sometimes it happens. The security deposit is there to be applied for any outstanding money that is owed to you. This includes late fees, overdue utility bills, and anything that’s owed when a lease is broken.
3. Cleaning Costs and Security Deposits
You can charge the security deposit for the cleaning fees you’ll have to pay after a tenant moves out and does not clean the property, but make sure your lease agreement reflects this. Your tenants need to know that you expect to receive the property in condition that’s as clean as when they moved in.
When you receive your tenant’s notice to vacate, send specific cleaning instructions so your tenants are aware of what the lease requires if they want to receive their full security deposit back.
If the tenants move out and you find that there’s trash left behind or not everything has been moved out, you will have to pay to have all of those belongings and garbage hauled out during the turnover process. The security deposit can help cover any cleaning costs that should have been your tenant’s responsibility.
If you have questions about what you can and cannot deduct from the security deposit, please contact us at Park Avenue Property Management. We work in Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, Kissimmee, Celebration, Maitland, Altamonte Springs, West Palm Beach, Tampa Bay, and throughout central Florida.