Security Deposit Deductions List For Your New Rental Property

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Apr 11, 2023

If you’re looking to buy a rental property, the prospect of putting your investment in the hands of a new tenant can be a scary thing.

Even after you’ve run credit and background checks, contacted references, and conducted a successful interview, you still can’t be certain that tenants will leave your property the way they found it.

The possibility of a tenant nightmare story is always looming because it simply comes with the territory of being a landlord. After all, you don’t want someone else depreciating your property’s value should you decide to sell.

That’s why it’s imperative for you to do everything you can to ensure that there are no discrepancies between your standards and a tenant when it comes to getting their security deposit back.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about accepting a new tenant to your rental property and the security deposit deductions list you’ll need to have in place to protect you from eating the costs of potential damage.

How Do You Ensure Your Tenant Takes Care of Your Rental Property?

In many cases, the thought of losing a security deposit can be enough to inspire a tenant to check off all of the boxes when it comes to being a respectful renter before they turn their keys back over to you. But, in order for the tenant to have a full understanding of what that list entails, you’re going to need to give it to them and outline all of the details.

This means you need to consider all of your tenant’s responsibilities after they sign a lease with you and estimate the cost of fulfilling them yourself in the event that the tenant doesn’t.

After you’ve done so, create an itemized list that clearly states the estimated deductions from their security deposit that they can expect once you’ve performed your inspection of the property upon their moving out.

What to Include in Your Tenant Security Deposit Deductions List

Below is a suggested tenant security deposit deductions list that you should put in the hands of any tenants before they move into your rental property.

This list details all aspects of the property that they will be responsible for maintaining, along with an estimated amount to be deducted from their security deposit should they fail to do so.

It should be noted to the tenant that the main purpose of this list is to form a mutual understanding between renter and landlord of potential tenant deposit deductions, and the prices will vary. There are a number of factors that will affect the estimated costs of the various potential damages, but you can use this one as a rough template and adjust your own based on your personal knowledge of your rental property, local prices, and repair costs.

General Cleaning

  • Clean ceiling fan: $25
  • Wash windows (interior, including tracks): $20
  • Wash light fixtures: $15 each
  • Floor cleaning (mop, vacuum, sweep): $60
  • Carpet cleaning (normal): $150
  • Carpet cleaning (deep clean): $200
  • Carpet cleaning (spot clean): $15 each
  • Pest or rodent extermination: $150

General Repairs

  • Drywall repair: 6”x 6” hole: $75, 12” x 12” hole: $125, 24” x 24” hole: $150
  • Repair kitchen cabinet: $150
  • Repair kitchen drawer: $150
  • Fill nail holes: $25
  • Repaint one room: $300
  • Labor costs (general): $25-$50 per hour
  • Labor costs (specialty): $75-$100 per hour

General Replacement

  • Replace doorknob (interior): $25
  • Replace door lock (exterior): $50
  • Replace interior door: $100
  • Replace exterior door: $250
  • Replace door keys: $20
  • Replace carbon monoxide detector: $75
  • Replace carbon monoxide detector batteries: $25
  • Replace smoke detector: $75
  • Replace smoke detector batteries: $25
  • Replace carpet: $3 per square foot
  • Replace flooring: $5 per square foot
  • Change light bulb: $5 each
  • Replace window screen: $40 per window
  • Replace window blinds: $40 per window

General Room Cleaning

  • Floor cleaning (mop, vacuum, sweep): $60
  • Wall cleaning: $30

Kitchen Cleaning

  • Cabinets/countertop cleaning: $60
  • Oven cleaning: $50
  • Stove/range cleaning: $50
  • Microwave cleaning: $30
  • Drip pan replacement: $25
  • Vent hood cleaning: $30
  • Refrigerator/freezer cleaning: $55
  • Dishwasher cleaning: $50
  • Sweep/mop floors: $25
  • Clean walls: $25

Bathroom Cleaning

  • Bathtub/shower cleaning: $50
  • Toilet cleaning: $20
  • Sink cleaning: $20
  • Wipe down countertops/cabinets/walls: $30
  • Floor cleaning: $30

Yard Care/Trash Removal

  • Mow lawn: $50
  • Weed property: $75
  • Trim bushes: $75
  • Remove trash: $100 per load

If some of the prices on this list seem a bit inflated, that’s sort of the point. You’re not just estimating the average cost of the listed items, you’re providing the tenant with the necessary motivation to ensure that they take their responsibilities as a renter seriously. The premium pricing should not be an issue for anybody if the listed tasks are performed by the one whose security deposit is at stake.

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The tenant’s security deposit plays a crucial role in a rental agreement, functioning as a protective measure for landlords against unpaid rent or damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear. However, landlords must remember that there are clear limitations to what the security deposit can cover. For instance, while landlords can deduct the costs of replacing an exterior door lock or providing for broken lightbulbs replacement batteries, they cannot use the entire security deposit for cosmetic upgrades or enhancements.

It’s also vital to ensure that the lease agreement explicitly outlines these parameters to avoid disputes when a tenant moves out. Remember that landlords require tenants to replace dead light bulbs and handle minor repairs such as a loose interior door knob. Larger repairs or deep cleanings, like a recreation room cleaning, however, typically fall under the landlord’s responsibility, unless otherwise stipulated in the lease.

In conclusion, understanding security deposit deductions is a crucial part of managing rental properties. Landlords need to understand the extent to which they can legally and ethically use the deposit to cover costs. This comprehension helps maintain a healthy and fair relationship between the landlord and tenant. Furthermore, it’s important to remember that rental laws can vary from one place to another. Therefore, always keep updated with changes and specific laws in your own local market to ensure you’re handling security deposits appropriately.

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