How Managers Can Avoid Security Deposit Disputes in Rental Properties

by | Jun 24, 2013 | Real Estate

Professional property management agents should be able to act as a buffer between property owners and tenants.  They are the middleman in the equation and will try to resolve issues that may occur when security deposits are concerned.  There are multiple ways managers can help to avoid security deposit disputes.

Security Deposits

When a tenant rents a property from a property management company in Connecticut, they place a small deposit down when they sign the lease.  This is to ensure that if any damage occurs to the property, then the property manager and landlord are covered.  When tenants move out, landlords may come across damage on the property that voids the security deposit.  Broken plaster on the wall, improper care, filthy carpets, or other imperfections can all lead to the loss of a tenant’s deposit.  Sometimes, tenants believe certain things are not their fault.  The best thing to do is to take before and after photos of the premises.  In the lease, document all things that can void a security deposit.  This will, without a doubt, determine whether or not they are at fault.  If they sign the lease, then they are agreeing to the terms.

Improper Care

Improper care of the property on the tenant’s behalf is the main reason for the loss of a security deposit.  When you make the decision to keep the security deposit, don’t just slap the tenant with a letter through the mail.  Talk to them face to face, and point out the reasons why you are retaining the deposit.  Explain the damages in detail, and let them know you are trying to be fair.  They cannot dispute obvious things if they signed a pre-inspection checklist of the things that were wrong or not wrong before they moved in.

Other Issues

Leaking water can easily become an issue if not dealt with.  If damage occurs due to broken water lines or leaks, then that is the responsibility of the property owner and manager.  However, if a tenant leaves the shower curtain open when taking a shower and water splashes out over a long period of time, then this could cause water damage or swelling in the floor.  This would be the tenant’s responsibility because the damage occurred due to their negligent behavior.  Take care when dealing with these situations.  Print out the lease agreement, and show the tenant exactly what rights they have when it comes to security deposit retention.  There will only be a dispute if they feel like they should get their money back.  If you show them the lease where it stipulates the damages they will be responsible for, then that should resolve the matter.

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