Skip to comments.Have a Landlord Question. Holding Back Securty Deposit Because of Damages...
Posted on 04/02/2014 9:57:19 AM PDT by Chickensoup
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and received a demand to pay and threats of lawsuit.
From only one of the tenants, the one without a job.
I have had tenants for over 30 years and have never held back monies, but these people cause a lot of inside damage, as well as damages to septic piping with their truck, engineering is waiting til spring to fully assess. Help!
it varies by state
Well, I suppose if you can document the damages were caused by the tenant then you certainly can withhold the security deposit.......
You should probably get in the habit of taking pictures prior to them moving in too.
You should check the laws of the State and City to determine what the chance they these people will collect. BUT, if everything is documented, AND it cannot be considered usual wear and tear, then it sounds more like bluster. More than likely they will file against you in small claims court. At that time submit your proof.
Unless, they actually file I would not worry about it, even then FACTS speak louder in court. Stay calm and do not fight with the ex-tenant in court.
It sure does. If you're in Massachusetts forget it. A rental agent there got sued because she asked a prospective tenant where she was from. Some areas are very pro-tenant.
I suspect your State has a time period for returning security deposits and a process if not returning all monies. Colorado, for instance, has 60 days max to return funds or to state in writing the damages and the amounts being withheld. It is that simple here. Check your State’s website. Most have information on line about this subject.
document the damage, get estimates of repair, hold back the security deposit.
if they’ve damaged the place either hand them an itemized bill payable immediately to release the deposit back, or the deposit is going to be kept to pay the damage repair. their choice. they can’t damage a place and then leave and expect their deposit back. that’s why you collect a security deposit.
Don’t worry about it until you hear from their lawyer.
If they have enough money to pay a lawyer, and start spending that money, they will lose the security deposit anyway.
You won’t have to incur expense until their lawyer convinces you that they have a case he is willing pursue.
Give them your card and instruct them to have their lawyer call you.
Mail him back those pictures you took.
take a video of the rental... do not get rid of anything they may have left behind... do not put it on the curb, take it to the dump, sell on Ebay... document it and keep it according to your city’s ordinance/law... even if you ask them to come pick up... hold on to it...
If you are in Maine (checked your profile), your State gives you 30 days to return the funds or provide in writing a mailing to their last known address (this is common and is often the rental address if they did not leave a forwarding address) the reasons for withholding the funds. If you do not know the damage until Spring because of ground thaw then you also do not know the actual damages and might not be able to withhold funds. If there is visible damage then your only option will be to get a septic company out there right now and make a good faith estimate on the fix, winter or not. A Winter fix of course will be much more than a Spring fix in Maine.
Yep, it depends on the state and locality where you live and what the ordinances say. You may have to give them a statement by a certain time, for example, in order to legally withhold their deposit.
In CA and OR, where I have experience, the law is that you must provide an accounting of what you did with their deposit within X days. Typically X=30, but this can vary.
A accounting is not the return of the entire deposit, but a list of the damages and a refund of the deposit over & above the damages.
As I see the issue here, if it is going to take longer than 30 days for the damage to the septic piping to be fully assessed, the accounting for the damage would have to be a maximum estimate from a plumber or septic company. But, this is fraught with danger. How can you re-rent the house without a working septic? I would be inclined to have the pipes repaired, even if the landscape can not be fully repaired until later. Then you can deduct for the cost of the pipe repair now, and deduct the estimate for landscape repair also. The more actual cost you have, the better off you are.
Don't forget the limit on days for an accounting. If you go over it, the tenant is entitled to all of the deposit back, plus punitive damages.
Unless you have a checklist that shows all the broken stuff was okay when you rented it, outside of normal wear and tear, you may be out of luck. But it varies from state to state.................
Didn’t the rental contract/agreement mention the deposit and why it was necessary ???
that it would be withheld to pay for any damages ??
that the apartment must be in good repair and reasonably clean when they leave ???
Every time I rented years ago I signed agreeing to those terms ...
Take pics and sue them for damages if the repairs are above what the deposit was..
Dem’ der’ “securty” deposits will kill ya’.
Texas has a law that landlords have 30 days from move out to either send the deposit back or a letter detailing what had to be fixed and the cost. If not then the landlord is liable for 3 times the deposit and $100. When we rented our last house before we bought this one, the landlord ( a real *itch) waited almost 6 months and then sent a tenth of it back. We filed suit and won. The judge told her she failed in her duty as a landlord and had to pay us the full $4250 plus interest. Had a judgment on her and last month (2 months after the judgment) she wanted to sell her home. We got the money plus $38 in interest.
Give them the money and chalk it up to experience. Having been a renter at times I hardly ever got back a deposit. I always cleaned up the places and left them as nice as possible but there is the principle of Fair Wear and Tear. How long have they rented? How much work would it have taken to restore the property had they never been there? How well have you taken care of your duties as a landlord? Just asking.
Whatever you do don’t be greedy. Your karma is at stake.
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