Real Estate

Ways to Avoid Security Deposit Disputes

Rental management specialists will act as a liaison between renters and property owners.  In most cases, they will have property owners totally covered under the terms of the lease, but occasionally, security deposit disputes may occur.  While this is unfortunate, it is a reality.  The best thing they can do is to produce necessary documentation to back up their claims of property damage, back rent owed, or whatever else they need to offer proof as to why they are retaining the security deposit.

Understanding Security Deposits

When a renter signs a lease for a residential property management services in Sacramento, they must pay a security deposit in the amount listed in their lease.  The security deposit is to protect the property owner if the tenant bails without paying rent or if they damage the premises in any way.  The deposit is not to be used as the last month’s rent, and most leases stipulate this.  In some cases, a walkthrough of the property will be completed before the tenant leaves the property, but sometimes, inspections are done within so many days after they vacate the premises.  It depends on how the terms are written in the lease.  Reasons the deposit could be withheld include broken windows, damaged walls, holes in the walls or floor, stained carpets, or broken blinds, among other things.  A property owner should always ensure their management company takes photos before the tenant actually moves in and afterwards as well.  They should use a camera that has the capability to put date and timestamps on the photos.  This will give them added protection to avoid disputes.

Use a Checklist

One of the best ways to avoid security deposit disputes is to have a prepared checklist before the tenant moves in.  The property manager and the tenant should walk through the premises together to conduct an inspection.  The checklist should include every area of the home with a diagram of the area.  During the walkthrough, all damage found should be noted on the checklist form.  Things that are good should be checked off, and anything that is wrong should be initialed by both the property manager and the tenant.  Both parties should sign the form, and the tenant should receive a copy.  This document should eliminate any security disputes that may arise.  It is also wise to list in the lease things the security deposit can be deducted for.  This will leave nothing to chance.

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