A.D. CANTELMO REALTY/TONY CANTELMO
BROKER
TONY CANTELMO

A.D. Cantelmo Property Management
Our Business is Property Management Orange County California


Returning a Security Deposit


Dealing with security deposit issues is one of the more difficult decisions a Property Manager or Landlord has. Obviously a Tenant wants all their security deposit back and the Landlord wants to make sure their property is move in  ready for the next Tenant. As a Property Manager, sometimes it seems we are in a vice being squeezed from both sides. How much of a security deposit to return is not always cut and dry, in fact most of the time it’s very difficult and creates animosity. So the question is, how do you minimize problems regarding security deposits.


Who’s Money is it?

When it comes to a security deposit, the question is, who’s money is it? To me, there are two answers to that question. First, a security deposit is a refundable deposit. In California, there are no non refundable deposits and that includes Pet deposits. With that in mind, I believe the Security Deposit belongs to the property owner with the understanding that it may be temporary. I always, transfer a security deposit to the property owner, unless the owner wants me to keep it. When I transfer the money to the owner, I remind them that some or all of the security deposit may have to be returned to the Tenant at the end of their tenancy. It is very important for an owner to think of a security deposit as an insurance policy. You should keep that money in a separate account only to be used if a Tenant damages or leaves property in a state of disorder.


What can a Security Deposit be used for?


A security deposit can be used for several reasons. When a Tenant moves out of a property, that Tenant does not leave the property clean. In my experience, this is the main reason for a deduction of a security deposit. When Tenants are moving, things can get hectic, so Cleaning is left as the last thing on the list to do and often times a Tenant runs out of time and leaves the property before cleaning is done. A Landlord may deduct for cleaning fee’s.

Next is damage to the property. I don’t run into this too often, but sometimes there is damage to a property. It may be a pet that chewed the baseboards, or removing a TV brace without patching and painting the holes in the wall. For this type of damage, a Landlord may deduct for damage repair.

When it comes to carpet or paint, that all depends on how long the carpet has been on the floor and how long It has been since the home has been painted. This is where the term “Normal wear and tear” comes in. There are no hard and fast rules on lifespan, but here are my guidelines
PAINT  3 YEARS
CARPET  5 YEARS
WINDOW COVERINGS 5 YEARS
VINYL FLOORING  7 YEARS
STOVES 7 YEARS
REFRIGERATORS  7 YEARS

Now, if a Tenant lives in a property for 2 years, and you feel that the paint has been damaged, you can’t charge them for a new paint job, you must prorate how much they owe by calculating the lifespan of the paint job and how long they have lived in the property. For example, if a new paint job is $1000.00 and the life of that paint job is 3 years and the Tenant has lived there 2 years, you can only charge for 1 year of the life of the paint job which would be $333.00.
The same goes for anything else you deduct for. Remember, a Landlord can withhold from the security deposit only the amount reasonable and necessary.

Try and think of it this way, if the Tenant took you to court, how would a Judge rule and keep in account that Judges when it comes to security deposits lean in the Tenants favor much of the time. So always make sure you document with pictures of before and after and receipts of work performed.

When it comes to security deposits, it is always going to be contentious. Tenants always feel they have left the property the same way they moved in and Landlords want the property to be ready for the next Tenant without having to spend any money. Most of the time, we can come to a reasonable agreement where both sides give a little. Just make sure that when you do the initial walk through and the pre-move out inspection, everyone knows what is expected.


A.D. Cantelmo Property Management
Specializes in Property Management Orange SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

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What my clients are saying  

5 reviews 5.0 star rating 1/21/2016 I was tired of using a large management team to manage my investment property. I felt I was always on the back burner. I was recommended to Tony from a business associate, he assured me I would be very pleased. Well that was an understatement, Tony is amazing. He's above all honest and always available for my concerns. I'm not as well versed as other investors with property management and maintenance and tenant relations, Tony has been an excellent partner and has guided me through quite a bit of needed repairs and worked far beyond what was expected to help turn my little investment into quite a prosperous investment, If what your looking for is prompt return calls, honest direction and someone very knowledgeable with general contractors and real estate laws, Tony is your man. Angela

 

~ Angela

5 reviews 5.0 star rating 1/21/2016 I was tired of using a large management team to manage my investment property. I felt I was always on the back burner. I was recommended to Tony from a business associate, he assured me I would be very pleased. Well that was an understatement, Tony is amazing. He's above all honest and always available for my concerns. I'm not as well versed as other investors with property management and maintenance and tenant relations, Tony has been an excellent partner and has guided me through quite a bit of needed repairs and worked far beyond what was expected to help turn my little investment into quite a prosperous investment, If what your looking for is prompt return calls, honest direction and someone very knowledgeable with general contractors and real estate laws, Tony is your man. Angela

 

~ Angela

"10 out of 10 I am so Happy Since I left my old company and I joined AD Cantelmo Property Co I am stress free I live in a different state and this company watches my house and always Mr Tony Cantelmo is on top of things I really want to thank you for what you do for me and I would really Recomend this Company to any and every one Thank You again. Shawn" ------------------- "I need to trust the people I work with and I trust Tony. He stays on tops of things, communicates well, and gets things done. He not only gets things done but he gets things done the right way. Jim"

 

~ Shawn

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