A.D. Cantelmo Property Management
Our Business is Property Management in Orange County California
Deducting from the Security Deposit
When a Landlord is going through a property on the final
inspection, they have to decide what if any damage to the property is the
Tenants responsibility and what is normal “Wear and Tear”. As I have stated in
other articles, if a Tenant disputes any Security Deposit deduction and it ends
up in court, judges lean towards the Tenant, and the Landlord must bring in
proper evidence and proper receipts.
Let’s look at what is proper for the Landlord to deduct and
what is “Normal Wear and Tear”.
Cleaning the Property
A Tenant must leave the property as clean as it was when
they moved in. A Landlord is allowed to deduct from the Tenant reasonable cost
to clean the rental unit. For example, if the Tenant had a pet and the Landlord
needs to eradicate fleas, cleaning mildew in bathrooms, washing the floor,
cleaning the carpets. A Landlord can charge for the cleaning only if the
property was clean when the Tenant moved in.
If there are paint issues in the property, a Landlord must determine
if the paint wear is normal aging, or if the Tenant is responsible. If the
paint is over 2 years old, it would be difficult for a Landlord to charge a
Tenant for painting. Minor marks or nicks on the walls are the Landlords responsibility,
but large holes on the walls or ceilings that need patching or re painting, can
be deducted for.
Carpet damage must be calculated, by looking at the life
span of the carpet. If a carpet has a lifespan of 10 years, then a Tenant can
only be charged for the remaining life of the carpet. For example, if the
carpet needs to be replaced and the replacement cost is $1000, and the carpet
is 5 years old with a lifespan of 10 years, then the Landlord can deduct from
the Tenant for ½ the cost $500.
These rules are not set in stone and a Landlord and Tenant
will have to use common sense when looking at the condition of the property.
The cleaning and painting and carpets are common issues, but
there may be other issues, like broken faucets, or dog damage to the walls, or
damaged appliances, or leaks that have not been reported and have caused wood
This is why both the Tenant and the Landlord must take good pictures
when the Tenant moves in the property, so they can look and compare on the date
the Tenant moves out. You can put notes down, but looking at the photos will be
important when disputes arise. I take photos of everything including under
sinks and in closets.
We all know how much Tension can come from the issue of the
security deposit and both the Landlord and the Tenant must use common sense
when deciding if any deduction is reasonable. A Landlord must take in
consideration how long a Tenant has been in the property and how much of the
damage is normal “Wear and Tear”, or negligence on the side of the Tenant. Both
parties should do what they can to stay out of court and come to a mutual agreement.
A.D. Cantelmo Property Management Specializes in Property Management in Orange County