Rental property maintenance myths abound in Sunrise, Florida. In this final post of a series of five, we talk about a contentious issue. The security deposit for your rental property can be a sticking point for both landlord, and tenant. Often, security deposits are misunderstood. Tenants sometimes exit before the lease term is up, leaving the landlord with unpaid bills and damage to a property. On the other hand, landlords sometimes misuse the deposit to upgrade their property.
Myth #5: Security deposits cover everything
Security deposits are a cause of contention for many tenants and landlords. And often the reason is a lack of communication or understanding of what the security deposit is actually for. There are two common myths related to security deposits:
Tenant Misunderstanding: The security deposit is for the last month’s rent.
While many landlords ask for a security deposit that equals a month’s rent, it does not mean it covers the last month’s rent. Unless the tenant and landlord agree beforehand, tenants must pay the last month’s rent. Even if the security deposit is due in full, it should not stand-in for the last month’s rent.
Landlord Misunderstanding: The deposit is available for any make-ready, repairs and cleaning costs.
Wrong. The security deposit is meant to cover unpaid rent and perform needed repairs or cleaning that result from abnormal wear and tear. Some landlords intentionally stretch this rule; others do so out of ignorance. Regardless, landlords cannot use the security deposit to replace 15 year old countertops or to paint the home after 7 years. Unless tenants cause severe damage to property through intentional or negligent behavior, the security deposit must not pay for standard wear-and-tear chores.
Replacement of flooring is a common example. The landlord may charge the tenant for damage directly caused by the tenant, such as pet damage or scratches. However, given the usage, flooring needs regular maintenance or replacement from time to time. If the kitchen linoleum is just too old, the landlord must pay for the cost of replacement. Unless otherwise agreed, updating or upgrading a property is always the landlord’s responsibility.
Need a property manager to take care of security deposit related issues?
Sometimes it’s just a convenience, to have someone take care of the little issues. But often, the cost of hiring a professional property manager like Real Property Management Premier makes the most long-term financial sense as well.
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