security deposit deduction for damaged quartz counter tops

17 Replies

My lease option tenant decided that the home was not for her and moved out. She left the home in decent shape, normal wear and tear of a family with dog and kids and after a day of cleaning it was ready to go on the market again. The one thing that I cannot fix is the damage of the counter tops which appear to be from a hot pot. It is not easily possible to remove the piece and even if it would come out I doubt I would be able to get the exact same color. I paid about $8000 for the tops - its a large kitchen. Now the questions is how much should I deduct from her security deposit?

Hire an expert to fix it

Charge exact amount or more if damage will resurface in the future

Is there a way to fix the countertops without replacing them? Buff them out(sorry, not familiar with quartz personally)? If they can be fixed without replacing then I would charge her the fee of repair. If they need to be totally replaced then you may be out of luck and put this one down as a hard learned lesson about having "very nice" things in rentals...

Or you could just take the entire SD for the damage that way you feel as if you atleast got some reimbursement for the damage...

What does your lease option agreement allow you to charge? Did you take a non refundable option consideration or a security deposit that needs to be returned.  

@Marcus Auerbach

 Where I live you have to have an itemized statement showing everything that you deduct from the security deposit or else the tenant can protest it.  Which means that you either have to show a repair estimate, a replacement estimate or absorb the loss and learn a valuable lesson about quartz countertops.  The picture that you have does not look too bad, I would probably just leave it and move on.  

As a side note, I put a lot of granite with multiple colors in our rentals since it is dirt cheap here (quarries locally) and still looks good if it gets stained a little bit.  I tend to stay away from the other materials since even the expensive ones all seem to get dinged or stain easily.  If you get any more rentals in the future and granite is not an option then stick with the cheap formica that looks like granite and plan on swapping it out every 5 years or so.

@Christopher Gilbert good point with the itemized list I just need to put a number to it. I guess I am not sure if it even can be repaired without replacing the whole slab. But in any case it is a damage and reduces the value of the kitchen and the house overall. The big question is is the damage worth $100 or $1000 or ??

I agree with you for rentals, even in the high end rentals we use quality laminate for about $800. If they ruin it we just replace the whole thing and charge it against the deposit. This house used to be my home. Long story... its on the market now 5 days and I had 4 showings - much better than last years market!

@Tim Ehlers both, 2.5% non refundable option payment and $3250 deposit. Its a lot but still not enough to pay for a new counter top.

@James Barnes I have a feeling that my tenant will try to get the option fee back, although I have no idea on what basis she would do that. So I want to make sure that I am on the legitimate side if ever a judge would have to look at this.

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts!

Well, I learned something.  I was under the impression that Quartz was nearly indestructible.  Guess not.  I'm glad I've stuck with laminate that looks like granite for now. 

@Bryan N. agreed - and my concern with granite is that it may stain if not properly sealed.

Oof. Sorry to see that happen. From what I can remember, if you get a heat stain on a quartz countertop, you're basically stuck with it for life.

*note to self*: No quartz or granite countertops in my rentals.

Yeah quartz is very durable for the most part, but if heated too much the resin will discolor (turn white in this case). I wouldn't replace it. In my state you have to have an itemized list within 30 days to charge anything from the security deposit, so I don't think I could charge based on an estimated value decrease as you are saying.

I would check with a local stone guy that fabricates quartz, and see if they cant do some time of color treatment, or just replace a section, adding a seam, since you already have 2 seam there.

I would also make it a point to tell future tenants about this. Leaving the discoloration as reminder might help future tenants to take better care as well. Good luck.

I would also note, that this shouldn't really be a knock on quartz or granite. That is pretty darn good for setting a hot pot down. If that had been a laminate top, you would be replacing it for sure.

The big question for me remains: how much am I going to deduct from the security deposit? What is reasonable and defend-able? 

Thanks everyone for the feedback! 

  • How long was the tenant there?
  • what is the life span of that counter?

Devide those 2 for a percentage that the tenant is responsible for.

Have you found out if you can repair it?

@Austin Youmans

only 6 months and I guess the life span of a quarz countertop is at least 30 years. My problem is that I can't justify a repair: provided I find the exact same color it would be 3-5k to take the top cabinets of and replace the slab including the sink cut out. It is not damaged beyond use, but it certainly is a reduction of the value for the kitchen, if not reflecting on the entire house, but that makes no sense of course...

At this point I guess I will just deduct the cost for the damaged area of 6 sft of quartz for $36/sft.

Why can't you justify a repair? Seems like the tenants damaged your property... it would be like if I keyed your car? 

@Paul A.

 yes, that's the perfect comparison, I have not thought about that. However I need to play this one 100% by the book and on the conservative side because I don't want to give the tenant any excuse to take legal steps. Interesting thing is that nobody recommended straight out to have the counter tops replaced take the full deposit. And if the BP community is hesitating to recommend that, then I think I'll better call it wear and tear.

why not get the tenant to agree to some compensation?   Tell her it isn't fixable and the only way to return it to normal is to replace it. And that would cost thousands of dollars. Asked her if she would agree in writing to some other number so that she saves money. Maybe $1000 or so? I have done this with carpet before that was severely stained and had been new prior to tenant's taking possession.

I would get an estimate for the total repair or replacement from a good installer. Then I would quickly start a conversation with the tenant. Let them know you are within your rights to charge this amount but you would prefer not to. Go into the conversation with a number in mind that you will be happy with. Do not accept less. You are in the position of power here and they did you wrong (not the reverse). 

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