Security deposit refund?

7 Replies

Hello, we recently had some tenants move out that had lived in our property for 3 years.  We had initially collected the security deposit from them for $700.00.  Upon moving out and during our final walk through we found that the place was left very dirty.  The carpets needed to be cleaned, we had to hire pro cleaners to deep clean the house, and some screens were damaged.  There were many holes from pictures on the walls that had to be filled that were not, the appliances were not cleaned and part of the original wood floor was damaged.  Lastly, the landscaping had not been maintained as the weeds were taking over. I am wondering how we gauge if they are entitled to any of the security deposit or we are able to keep it to go towards the repairs.  I will be doing much olf the repairs myself so I would not have a receipt to show for my time. Thanks in advance.

In my area, we have to note all of the damage on the Move Out Inspection form and have the seller sign it in order to retain any portion of the deposit.  That being said, the number you should use is the amount it would cost you to return the property to the same condition it was in prior to the tenants moving in (adjusting for normal wear and tear).  

@Matt by you doing all your repairs your self what you can do is mail your old tenant an invoice of what the repair will cost you to repair the home. you can add the cost of the professional carpet cleaning company bill into the invoice as well. Or you can get contractor to give you estimate of what the repair will cost you to repair the home. 

There are many lists available on the internet of typical charges for damages, or you can develop your own.  Google "move out charges" or "tenant settlement charges" or such.

Whether you do the work yourself or hire it out, charge for it, unless the laws for your jurisdiction say otherwise.  If you can not charge for your labor by law, then definitely hire the work out.

When a tenant moves in and when they are getting ready to move out, we give them a copy of the list of typical charges for damages.  Charge by a flat rate or by labor & materials.  If you hire any work out, charge what your were invoiced by the contractor.  Judges in our area won't blink twice if we charge $20 - $30 hour for our time.  Mostly we follow the charge list.  If it is nasty work we charge on the higher end. 

@Matt Taschner  This website has some helpful forms like this one.

*I do not agree with every price on the list but it's a good start*


Clean refrigerator 70.00

Clean stovetop 30.00

Replace stove drip-bowls 28.00

Clean oven 50.00

Clean stove hood 30.00

Clean kitchen cabinets 45.00

Clean kitchen floor 50.00

Clean tub/shower and surround (ea.) 30.00

Clean toilet and sink (per bath) 20.00

Clean bathroom. cabinets and floor 25.00

Clean carpets (per room) 75.00

Vacuum throughout dwelling 40.00

Window cleaning (per unit) 11.00

Clean greasy parking spaces (ea.) 25.00

Clean fireplace 35.00


Remove carpet stains 80.00

Cigarette burn in carpet/floor 80.00

Deodorize carpet 80.00

Repair carpet 150.00

Repair hardwood floor 95.00

Refinish hardwood floor 380.00

Repair linoleum 85.00

Replace bathroom linoleum 385.00

Replace kitchen linoleum 385.00

Replace floor tile 75.00

Replace ceramic tile 150.00


Remove mildew and treat surface 25.00

Cover crayon/marker/pen marks 35.00

Repair hole in wall 55.00

Remove wallpaper 145.00

Repaint (per wall/ceiling) 20.00


Repair hole in hollow core door 55.00

Repair forced door damage 75.00

Replace door (inside) 155.00

Replace door (outside) 285.00

Replace sliding glass door 775.00

Replace sliding door screen 65.00


Replace light bulb 2.50

Replace light fixture globe 12.00

Replace light fixture 55.00

Replace electrical outlet/switch 12.00

Replace electrical cover plate 5.50


Replace kitchen faucet 195.00

Replace bathroom faucet 195.00

Replace shower head 24.00

Replace toilet tank lid 45.00

Replace toilet seat 35.00

Replace toilet 265.00

Replace garbage disposer 125.00

Snake Toilet 45.00

Clear sewer/cesspool line 95.00


Replace window pane 75.00

Replace Venetian or Mini blind (ea) 75.00

Replace window shade 15.00

Replace window screen 25.00

Replace Vertical Blinds (Sl. Dr) 175.00


Replace key 5.00

Replace door lock 47.00

Replace passage doorlock 28.00

Replace deadbolt lock 47.00


Replace refrigerator shelf 25.00

Replace stove/oven knob 16.00

Repair ceramic tile 150.00

Replace countertop 275.00

Replace cutting board 40.00

Replace kit/bath cabinet knobs 10.00

Replace mirror 45.00

Replace medicine cabinet 85.00

Replace towel bar 22.00

Replace tub/shower enclosure 195.00

Re-grout bath/shower tiles 165.00

Repair porcelain 135.00

Replace thermostat 75.00

Replace fire extinguisher 35.00

Remove junk and debris 250.00

Replace doorbell button 5.00

Replace doorbell unit 50.00

Replace Garage door (each) 525.00


Major yard Cleanup 425.00

Minor yard Cleanup 225.00

Mow lawn front and back 50.00

Clean gutters 185.00

Trim bushes 20.00


Exterminate for cockroaches 550.00

Exterminate for fleas 375.00 

Thank you for all of your input everyone.  This helps immensely.  I have two rental properties currently and have just sold my first flip.  I'm very excited to continue this journey in real estate investing with the help of everyone on Bigger Pockets.  Thanks again!

If you think about how much a typical security deposit will cover, you can see why it is best to do regular inspections and charge for damages as they occur. Don't wait until move out and find yourself coming up short. Chasing money for damages after a tenant leaves is not easy and usually not as successful. Secure a hefty security deposit at the beginning of the tenancy if you can.

Very true @Marcia Maynard . Regular inspections make it easier to nip things in the bud and let the tenant know they're responsible. We learned this the hard way. We still have 2 SFRs in a challenging neighborhood and despite inspections, when a tenant moves out, there is still a lot of damage and they rarely get their deposit back.

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