Every state permits a landlord to ask for a deposit with the agreement to return it whenever the tenant wishes to leave the property in the state that they found it in, with the exception of normal wear and tear. However, this term’s definition among property owners is subjective, and some property owners might consider it damage thus retaining a tenant’s security deposit to foot the repairs.
In nearly all states, a property owner is allowed to withhold a security deposit for excessive damage but not for normal wear and tear. Essentially, a security deposit serves as a protection of the property owner in the occasion that the property is damaged at the end of a tenancy. This implies that landlords can deduct cash from the security deposit to cater for any item damaged.
As property management in Palm Beach Gardens, we consider normal wear and tear as whatever occurs from consistent day-to-day living in the rental property. Some of what is considered wear and tear include the following:
- Faded or yellowed paint due to sunlight and adverse weather conditions
- Dirty curtains and blinds
- Faded curtains
- Matted carpet wear caused by normal use
- Furniture markings in carpet
- Broken appliances (not from misuse)
- Warped doors occasioned by moisture, temperature, or age
- Dents in the walls caused by door handles
- Pin or picture holes in the walls (not excessive)
- Dirty window screens
- Loose door and window hinges
- Worn out linoleum floor
- Slightly worn out hardwood floors
- Broken taps initiated by normal use
- Worn out electric switches
Certainly, even the most careful tenant is likely to have these kinds of normal wear and tear. However, we do not consider molds and mildews normal wear and tear if they have grown due to water damage caused by unfixed plumbing issues that were raised by the tenant. Therefore, we will fix the damage and charge the tenant upon his or her exit.
What We Consider As Damage beyond Normal Wear And Tear
We have various issues that we consider as damage. If we feel and believe that the tenant caused damage to the property during the period of their stay, we have every reason to hold part or all of their security deposit to foot repair expenses.
Here are some of the damages that may prompt us to withhold some or all of a tenant’s security deposit depending on the extent of the damage:
- Carpets: burns, tears, pet odor and stains, blotches, and food stains
- Wall: marks, torn wallpapers, excessive number of holes, and stripped paint
- Deep scratches and gouges on wood and concrete surface floors
- Damaged furniture and broken or missing lighting fixtures
- Cracked or broken glass, broken hinges, and missing or broken door and window knobs
- Excessive dirt and grime that requires professional cleaning
- Broken electric appliances like refrigerator compartments and stove burners that can no longer work
- Broken mirrors, fixtures, broken or missing tiles, and clogged drainage system in the bathrooms
We consider any of the above damage as beyond normal wear and tear caused by a renter. Thus, we have every reason to keep the security deposit to cater for the repair costs.
As we provide property management services in Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Royal Palm Beach and their environs, we advise tenants to avoid damages like those we have listed above by carrying out regular maintenance. Tenants can practice preventive measures such as frequent vacuuming and dusting rugs, cleaning electric appliances, hanging things on the walls that do not require nails, cleaning up grime and stains immediately, and trimming animal nails to keep them from damaging wood floors and furniture.
Normally, problems sometimes occur and they are not new to us. As a firm operating in South Florida, we have dealt with various clients on issues related to normal wear and tear over a long period and we have successfully fixed them through ways we believe are best.
Before a move-in, we take the incoming tenant around the property to have a full understanding of what we consider wear and tear and what we regard as damage to property. Any defects or damage in the unit should be documented. Upon agreeing to the present condition of the unit, we then sign the document.
Before the tenant moves out of the leasing unit, we again carry out an inspection in the company of the outgoing tenant to ascertain what is damaged and what is worn and torn under normal conditions. Pictures are taken of any changes in the rental unit and the condition noted. We then explain to the tenant why we are withholding part or all of his/her security deposit. The renter can either agree with our decision or contest the reasons to withhold the security deposit.
We also carry out a regular inspection of a property to ensure that the property owner reaps the maximum returns from the property. As such, we maintain and protect your investment as dictated by our core values.
However, we advise our clients in Palm Beach Gardens and the neighboring cities to ensure that their properties are regularly maintained to avoid repair and renovation expenses on damages that are occasioned by the owner’s failure to maintain the units.
If the property owner fails to maintain the units regularly, he or she is likely to suffer losses. For example, if a roof is leaking and no repair is done, it will lead to the collapse of the ceiling. This damage is not the tenant’s responsibility but the owner’s. Under this circumstance, we cannot withhold the tenant’s security deposit.
To maintain your property effectively we do the following:
- Provide proper trash receptacles
- Provide running water
- Follow building codes
- Make needed repairs timely
As property management professionals in South Florida, we have your property investment goals in our hearts. By letting our professional property management staffs manage your condos, duplexes, family homes, and small multi-family units, we can help you achieve your investment goals.
Reach out to us and discover what we can do for you to lessen your stress and make your life enjoyable as we manage your property.