Security Deposit Disputes – How You Can Protect Yourself Against A Dispute

Tenants realize that the majority of landlords will require a security deposit before they hand over the keys to any rental property. This ensures the tenant will take care of the property using the highest standards. Most tenants expect to receive this deposit back once they hand in their keys to the property owner or landlord but sometimes that isn't always the case. You should protect yourself in the event of a dispute by following these tips.

What Can a Security Deposit be Used For?

A security deposit is mainly used to pay for damages that go beyond the usual wear and tear of an apartment or house. This means repairs due to water damage caused by leaking, holes in the walls, damaged floors, pet damage and anything else that wouldn't occur on a normal basis. A security deposit may also be used if the tenant leaves without paying their last month's rent.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

You can protect yourself against your landlord taking your security deposit when there hasn't been any real damage done and you have paid your rent on time every month by doing a few basic things. First, insist that your landlord does a move-in inspection and documents any and all damage left by the previous tenants.

You can document any damage before moving in by taking pictures and dating them. Always make sure you show the owner or landlord the pictures so they know of existing damage before you move in. Also, write out a report of damage found, sign it and date it, give a copy to the landlord and then keep this document through the length of your tenancy.

When you move out of the residence, perform a move-out inspection and again document any damage that wasn't fixed during your time in the apartment both on paper and in pictures. It is a good idea to document any damage during your tenancy that is not fixed or if you have had to bring in outside contractors to complete any repairs yourself. Use the time and date stamps on your pictures and sign and date the report before filing it away in a safe place. Don't forget to give a copy to your landlord or property owner.

When you do your inspections, if it's possible have your landlord take the tour with you. You can both document any wear and tear or any actual damage done. When your inspection is completed, have both of you sign and date the report and if possible, have your lawyer notarize it and keep a copy for potential future reference if needed.

If you're facing a potential dispute, contact an attorney like Jack W Hanemann, P.S.