First Time Landlord and Final Inspection

5 Replies

Just wanted to some advice on our final inspection and how you would charge. My husband and I are first time landlords so we are learning. Basically, overall we had good tenants up until the last few months. They became aggressive and difficult. The tenant on the lease did not show up for our final walkthrough instead she sent her new husband and her grandfather. Grandfather was very pushy and tried to get my to sign a form saying everything was good---I did NOT sign it. Overall the house looks good, except they painted 3 rooms. 1 room they did have my permission but the paint job is HORRIBLE in all three rooms. Its on the ceiling, base boards, and cabinets. Plus they left us no touch up paint. I asked about the touch up paint and told them they had to bring it to me but as of now they haven't. They used screws in the walls for pictures. One of the rooms they painted had 14 screws in the wall--very excessive. Then they added their own light fixtures and dimmers which they removed before they moved out. Our realtor has pictures of all of this from where we put the house on the market. Totally against the lease. Well they rewired 2 light switches backwards and now up if off and down is on and one of the plates is no longer up against the wall. We have a to fix it because someone is going to do a lease purchase on the house. Just wondering if charging for an electrician and a full paint job on the three rooms is justifiable? Also we had a laundry room door that was overall in good condition but had some normal wear and tear at the bottom, well they must of decided they didn't like the door so they stored it in the outdoor building all year and its covered in dirt and mildew. We have to purchase a new door but since there was some wear can we charge them for the full amount of the door cost? There were a few more minor issues but we were able to fix those in a couple hours so we aren't going to charge them for it. Any advice you can give because I know this couple is going to be upset if they don't receive all of their money back.

Sounds to me like you can probably keep the security deposit.  I'm sure most companies will give you a bid on the work which is higher than their security deposit.

Itemize all repairs needed ( get real proposals) include $15/hour for your time for whatever you do yourself, then subtract from SD, supply past tnenant with documentation of those costs and return balance if any. 

Do this within 30 days of lease end. 

No need to absorb costs they caused you to incur.

Originally posted by @Jassem A. :

Sounds to me like you can probably keep the security deposit.  I'm sure most companies will give you a bid on the work which is higher than their security deposit.

 This is how I feel but I was going to be nice and refund half of the deposit because my husband and I can do a lot of the work and cut the cost. (Our rental is for sale because I stink at being a landlord because I hate any conflict even if I am clearly In the right). I received a email last night two days after our tenant moved out saying she is going to sue me if I don't give her a full refund. So frustrating. I guess I will be going to court.

You need to increase your ignore confidence. People threaten stuff all the time - usually because their position is weak. If you can build a case for withholding deposit that'll hold up in court, go for it. It costs money to go to court and many tenants don't have the money or time to make it happen.

If you are to deduct, take photos of each item in need of repair, then get written professional proposals. If those proposals are under SD amount, then have the professionals do it and save yourself time and effort. Write out a quick statement to tenant for all costs and subtract from SD. mail remaining balance if there is one or show that additional funds are owed to you if those repairs exceed SD amount. then mail statement to them certified receipt and email etc. Include all original proposals for repairs and original move-in inspection report showing good condition. If they sue you, you have move-in inspection, photos of damage, professional proposals showing cost of repairs and your statement of move-out repairs and costs. You'll have adequate resources to present to judge if required. Remember you are not obligated to save tenant money by personally doing work in lieu of hiring a professional. They lost that option when they chose not to take care of it prior to move-out.  But if costs to hire a professional to mitigate damage are still under the security deposit amount, I suggest you go with that route as that provides a third party to verify that there are damages present and cost you money to take care of them vs. tenant perceiving you as making up damages and repairs which you supposedly repaired. Good luck!