Security Deposit Question / Ruined Furnishing

3 Replies

Good morning everyone,

First I want to thank you in advance for any help you can provide. I am a new landlord so I want to make sure I am following law when it comes to security deposits.

I am renting out a room and private bathroom in my condo unit and the laundry unit is in the private bathroom which we have an agreement on the time and day I'll do my laundry (enter the room). My tenant didn't take out his clothes from the dryer so I took them out and set them on the furnished bed I provided him.

I notice a cut and small hole going into the center of the mattress that was not there on the walkthrough. I notified the tenant in email and he mentioned "I'll replace it" I than sent him another email below:

"Thank you. The total replacement value of that mattress after depreciation totals around $500. (Original price $800) However,  I have found one on Amazon that's a bit cheaper that would be fine it totals $386.75 including tax. Provided the link to buy* Thank you for replacing,"

Am I handling this correctly? Should I give a date for action if I don't get another response and if the tenant does not replace than state I'll take the $500 from the security deposit? How do I handle this?

Thanks, James

Your email sounds fine to me.  Where you could get into trouble (if the tenant decided to make an issue of it) is going into his room to put his clothes on the bed, without proper notice to enter.  In the future, I would buy an extra laundry basket and just leave clean clothes from the dryer in the laundry basket.   Respect your tenant's privacy.  Did you actually remove the sheets to inspect the mattress?  

Damages should be billed as they occur.  The security deposit is for damages discovered after move-out.  If you do not bill damages as they occur, the SD could be used up, leaving you with nothing to cover any damages beyond normal wear and tear discovered after move-out.

You would be wise to make your rental space as tenant proof/friendly as possible.   Is he using his mattress to hide his valuables?  Consider buying and installing a small safe in the closet, like the kind they have for hotel rooms, where the tenant sets the code, or a locker where the tenant provides a small padlock.    If the safe has a master code, do not share that info with the tenant.   Just be sure that you have a way of accessing the locker or safe if the tenant moves out, leaving the safe/locker locked.  Bolt cutters can cut padlocks.

As stated by another poster, you didn't have authroization to enter his room, so I would tread lightly.

Also, how were you able to view a cut and hole in the mattress....does this guy not have sheets on his bed??  I would question more why he doesn't have sheets on his bed, and why didn't you provide him with a mattress that had a protector on it?  

Anyway, giving him the opportunity to replace the item seems fair.  If he pushes back on it, you can take it out of his Security Deposit upon move out.  However, I would be careful going forward.  You have to have expressed authorization and/or give proper notice to enter a Tenant's property.  It sounds like your authorization only extended to the bathroom, so hopefully you have to enter his room to access the bathroom where the laundry is..???


Thank you all for the great replies and I'll up vote when I am back on my computer.

I did enter the room on the time and day we agreed. To use the bathroom I have to enter his room. I did not remove the sheets to see the hole. This was plainly visable. 

Just wanted to clarify this. Would this be justified? I have consent in a text of our agreement for these days.

Updated 12 months ago

Mattress had a protector on it and that was ripped clean through. Also it was his sheets I was getting out of the dryer, sorry for the confusion.

Updated 12 months ago

I'll also clarify the days agreed were Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday with a 24 notice.

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