Eclectic Homes

What Can I Deduct in a Tenant's Deposit?

The refund of the security deposit is the most common source of conflict between landlords and tenants, according to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, so follow the right procedures to decrease the possibility of disagreements. Keep in mind that laws govern what you can deduct — the safety deposit may only be employed to cover four special purposes. You can’t use the money to repair flaws that existed prior to the tenant moved in or ordinary wear and tear.

Unpaid Rent

If the tenant has failed to pay rent during his stay in the rental property, you have the right to deduct the sum of the unpaid lease from his safety deposit. You may also deduct the lease the tenant owes if he does not offer you enough notice before moving from the property. As an example, if the tenant moves out without giving you a 30-day written notice, you can charge him for the lease to cover the 30 days.

Cleaning Costs

You may deduct money to clean the rental unit in the end of the tenancy. You can take as much as you want to bring the rental unit into the cleanliness level it was in at the start of the tenancy. The tenant isn’t responsible for conditions that existed before he moved in. As an example, if there are stains on the carpet that were not there when the tenancy began, it is possible to deduct the amount you want to wash it. But if it was already stained and dirty from the start of the tenancy, you can’t make the tenant pay for the cleaning price.

Damage Repairs

If, in the conclusion of the tenancy, you find any damage in the rental unit that wasn’t there when the tenant moved in, it is possible to deduct enough safety deposit to pay for the repair price. The tenant is responsible for any damage that he or his guests induced during his stay in the rental unit, except for reasonable and average wear and tear. As an example, you may make him cover a broken shower head, a hole in the wall or a large rip in the drapes. However, if the paint paint has slightly yellowed through the years or the carpets and curtains discolored, you can’t make the tenant pay for painting or for replacing the carpets as well as the curtains.

Private Property Damage

You might be able to deduct from the security deposit the sum you want to restore or replace private property that came with the rental unit — even if there is a clause in the rental agreement that stipulates this. As an example, if the rental unit came with furniture or appliances and the tenant damaged these items beyond normal wear and tear, then it is possible to deduct the price of fixing them from the safety deposit.

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