One of the areas that disputes between landlords and tenants are most common is security deposits. Landlords may want to charge for things that are simply wear and tear items for which they are responsible, and tenants always think they’ve left the home in perfect condition.
Returning a security deposit requires a thorough inspection and a lot of documentation. You’ll also need to follow the timing requirements in Texas.
We have some tips on avoiding security deposits disputes after your tenants have moved out of your Killeen rental property.
Returning Your Tenant’s Security Deposit
In Texas, you have 30 days from the date of move-out to return your tenant’s security deposit.
If your lease requires your tenants to give notice before moving out and they do not give the appropriate notice before leaving, you can keep the security deposit. You can also withhold money from the security deposit to pay for:
- Property damage
- Unpaid rent
- Unpaid utility bills
You’ll need to document and itemize every dollar that you keep. If you’re withholding money to pay for a floor that was scratched during the tenancy, be sure to document that and include an invoice or a receipt for the work that was done to repair or replace the floor.
Wear and tear issues are the landlord’s responsibility, so you cannot deduct anything from the tenant’s deposit to cover things like small nail holes in the walls from where pictures were hung or scuff marks from furniture.
Security Deposit Disputes
It’s important to hold tenants accountable for any damage they cause while living in your property, and you want to make sure that you get the home back in the same condition it was when the tenants moved in.
However, we always advise our owners to be fair and reasonable when it comes to making deductions from the security deposit. You want to make sure your tenants pay for the things they are responsible for damaging. You want to make sure the home is clean and ready to be re-rented. But, if you are found to wrongfully keep money from the deposit, you can be charged with some heavy punitive fines. If your tenant takes you to court and the judge rules in the tenant’s favor, you could be liable for up to three times the amount of the security deposit. Arguing over a $50 repair that was deducted from a security deposit might not be worth the risk. Document so you can be confident.
Repairing and Preparing Your Killeen Rental Property
Our list of preferred vendors help us to turn over properties quickly between tenants. They get the work done, and if something is missed, they come back right away to make sure it’s perfect. This reduces turnover time and expense for our owners. We can quickly make any repairs and clean the home professionally so it’s ready to rent again.
We work with tenants, security deposits, and vendors on a daily basis. If you’re struggling to manage a security deposit return or you’re already dealing with a tenant who is disputing the charges, contact us at Shine Residential Management. We’ll do everything we can to help.