Deducting from Deposit

9 Replies

Hi guys,

The renter that left my property just asked for an itemized list of deductions, I told him that I won't be returning any of his money after he left me with a flea infestation in the house that is still not under control after 3 1/2 weeks. I just want to make sure that I'm covered well , these are some of the stuff that I want to deduct :

- I've had to vacuum for fleas about 15 times so far (takes me at least an hour each time), I will for sure be north of 30 vacuums if not more when this is over and done, if I try to hire a cleaning lady for this no cleaning lady will come for a $40 job, so I'm thinking of charging him $30 per vacuum. If I'm losing money for performing my trade (computer programmer) can I charge my trade's rate for this?

- Materials it's no problem, I have the receipts

- I put the house for sale, also thought of maybe doing a short term rental but any thought of that went out the window with the infestation, even for the house sale of course this delayed me since I was consumed with this problem,  but regardless if it's for sale or not, if it delayed me a month that would normally have been available to rent, can I deduct the month rent I lost from their deposit? For example, their last day was 7/31, usually I would be renting the house again by 9/1 so if I was re-renting the house can I say that in theory (even though I'm selling but still delayed even that because of the infestation) you have delayed me so I have lost rent, I will deduct that from the deposit?

- My time researching, going to buy stuff to beat this, basically my personal/business plans for October went out the window because of this issue.

- What about issues that could take 1+ months to figure out the final number? (because the infestation could still be going on), I will absolutely will not rent this if I don't have 1 full month of 0 fleas, even if you don't see any they could come back if there are eggs waiting to hatch.

I appreciate your input, thank you!

I agree with the above.  You are required to give an itemized deductions list to the tenant.  Why not have it professionally treated for fleas.  Then you can provide that receipt as a deduction 

Thank you for the response, I did have professionally treated, but even professionally treated all the heavy work falls on you, you have to vacuum like your life depended on it, they don't do that. They also don't treat the yard, that fell on me.

@Kim Meredith Hampton thank you for the response, so you're saying that work that I did to remedy the situation might not stand up in court unless I have some sort of receipts? Should I have hired people to do this? (which would have come out even more expensive. How about lost rent because of the infestation?

@Roy Gutierrez yes, some judges won't consider your sweat equity. They want to see actually billing from professionals.

With regard to the lost rent, I would give it a try on the deduction from the SD for loss of rent, just make sure you have notations from the pest control company, and they dates they had to Retreat, and could not re/rent or sell

You have to show receipts that you paid to have work done. Doing it yourself cannot be charged to the tenants security deposit. Only things that you actually pay for (materials, supplies, etc). Was there a pet on the premises?

Thanks for all the help guys, @Ray Harrell , yes, unfortunately finding someone to come vacuum everyday was a challenge and this was serious enough that I thought that no one could vacuum better than me since it was my butt on the line so I did it, luckily now it seems the infestation is gone, I probably stink of pesticide to all my friends and might be growing an ear on the back of my head in the future from the exposure but at least the house is flea free but I will continue to apply treatments and vacuum until at least the end of the month (to be triple sure!).

I explained to the renter the situation and showed him the amount I had spent so far in materials and my labor and lost time and he was sensible enough and agreed with me, it helped that I let him stay in the house with his belongings in the garage for a month rent free while he looked for another place.

Hi @Sara K. , yes I did, used Vets + Best Flea and Tick yard, along with fogging the garage and crawl space. I have 2 more treatments in the yard just in case. Found out that a neighbor's dog has fleas as well but at least on my property I have treated the hell out of it.