Tenant moving out. Need list of items to give their deposit back

9 Replies

Could anyone please share or point to where I can get a template or list of items that need to be done by the tenant before they move out in order to get their deposit back? I greatly appreciate it since I have never had to inspect in order to determine how much should be given back from their deposit. 

Thanks a lot. 

did you do a walk through when they moved in and have them mark any existing damages? I would tell them they need to return the property in the same condition. any cost to you that isn't already necessary will come out of their deposit. for instance if the carpet was old when they moved in you probably can't charge them to replace it but if it was new and you need professionals to come in and clean a stain out from s glass of wine, I would charge that

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It is pretty simple.

Clean everything.

Professionally clean carpets if applicable and provide receipt (your lease or addendum) should say this)

That include stove inside and out and new drip pans if applicable

fridge - empty and clean

bathrooms

ceiling fans

No trash left behind

Blinds if provided clean and in good shape.

It is just common sense stuff.

I so rarely have to give back a deposit due to people breaking the lease.

If some one leaves at end of lease after giving proper notice (per lease) they try really hard to get their deposit back  and I usually don't beat them up or stupid stuff. 

My deposit is more than one months rent so the good tenants (or non deadbeats) will pay that last months rent instead of trying to use their deposit to cover the last month and make at least a good attempt to clean up the property to get that large deposit back.

If they did a poor job then I take pictures and send them a letter with some of the pictures withholding a standard cleaning fee and also withhold fees for repairs. I can just attach receipts of what it costs to do any repairs. This all needs to be done within 30 days after they move out. Per my State, check you state and local laws.

They need to provide a forwarding address to send them back any or all of their deposit.

If they don't provide a forwarding address send them this letter and check if applicable to last know address, delivery confirmation or certified is a good idea. They may have their mail forwarded if not it will come back to you as if certified.

If they complain they never got it you have proof you sent it to their best know address.

I have had people break lease and still clean house thinking they will get their deposit back. I never confirm nor deny this during the move out phase. Sometimes I give them some of it but never all of it. I phrase any money I send them as an allowance but not a deposit refund of any kind. I tell them that since they broke the lease they are not entitled to any deposit back (see lease section x) but since they did a reasonably good job cleaning up the house here is an allowance back from their deposit as a token of my good will.

@John Underwood

 Thank you for your reply. 

I doubt they will pay a professional carpet cleaner and I doubt they will leave the house very clean. 

So I guess at least I will have to charge for a pro carpet cleaner and pro cleaning service on top of whatever damage they do when they move their furniture out. 

I just wanted to make sure of the things I can charge and apparently the carpet cleaning and pro house cleaning is standard practice?

So what do you do when they say that you can keep the deposit for the last month's payment? They have been good tenants, but this is something I can see happening when they get notified I am not renewing their lease again. Do you send them an eviction notice and when? 

Thanks a lot.!

@Dan Earl if you email me, I'll share a copy of my move-out instructions and a description of the definition of "ordinary" wear-and-tear.

You have a lot more going on here and would be wise to study up on how to document the condition of the home prior to occupancy, how to inspect, how to educate the tenant before moving out, inspecting after vacancy, documenting condition, cleaning/repairs, and deposit disposition. I could literally spend days training you on this. My recommendation is that you find a good book like Every Landlord's Legal Guide by NOLO or The Book On Managing Rental Properties by @Brandon Turner . I bought the NOLO book in 2003 when I bought my first property and it is still the best single source I've found with tons of practical advise, laws for every state, and sample forms that can be edited.

Tenants should never use the deposit as last months' rent. In my state, it's illegal for the deposit to be spent on anything prior to termination and vacancy. If they spend it on rent, you'll have nothing left for cleaning and repairs and the tenant is highly likely to walk away without cleaning at all.

If you have specific questions, feel free to contact me.

@Dan Earl

That is why you should charge a larger deposit than one months rent. This usually eliminates them telling you to just keep the deposit as last months rent.

Yes you could tell then you will have to file an eviction and report the money they owe you to the credit reporting companies and see what they say.  If they have bad credit they may not care.

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

@Dan Earl if you email me, I'll share a copy of my move-out instructions and a description of the definition of "ordinary" wear-and-tear.

You have a lot more going on here and would be wise to study up on how to document the condition of the home prior to occupancy, how to inspect, how to educate the tenant before moving out, inspecting after vacancy, documenting condition, cleaning/repairs, and deposit disposition. I could literally spend days training you on this. My recommendation is that you find a good book like Every Landlord's Legal Guide by NOLO or The Book On Managing Rental Properties by @Brandon Turner . I bought the NOLO book in 2003 when I bought my first property and it is still the best single source I've found with tons of practical advise, laws for every state, and sample forms that can be edited.

Tenants should never use the deposit as last months' rent. In my state, it's illegal for the deposit to be spent on anything prior to termination and vacancy. If they spend it on rent, you'll have nothing left for cleaning and repairs and the tenant is highly likely to walk away without cleaning at all.

If you have specific questions, feel free to contact me.

 Thank you very much for the suggestion on books and your willingness to share your move out instructions. I will email you right now. Thanks a lot! This forum is a life saver for the landlords by chance/noobs like me. Thanks again!

Before you get that far download your state statutes and make sure you comply with any legal notices if you intend to make an offset against their security deposit.

I send the tenant an email a week or so before they move out and tell them they must clean thoroughly and ask that they not clean the carpet as we will have it professionally cleaned.

I list things that are common tenant mistakes - it seems like no one cleans the oven thoroughly.

The other thing that we are seeing is most tenants do not remove all of their belongings.

They leave misc items and I then have to get an email from them confirming "yes I have removed everything that I'm going to and you are free to discard anything I left behind"

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