Tenant kicked a broken door in. Can I keep the security deposit?

6 Replies


I just purchased my first renal property about  a month ago with inherited tenants.  I also kept the property manager on for the first month as I was hoping to ease into management.  About a week after I bought the property the property manager called to tell me that the previous night one of the tenants became locked out due to a deadbolt lock that fell out when he tried to unlock it.  She called for several locksmiths to come out, but after waiting several hours in the cold temperatures, the tenant called the police and he eventually kicked the door in against the advice of the property manager.  I just got the repair bill for $485 dollars.  My question is, can I apply the security deposit to cover the cost when the tenant moves out?  I have a feeling that he will not renew the lease anyways next summer.  If anyone has been in a similar situation I would appreciate the advice.  


@Ryan M. You shouldn't wait to address the issue until a move-out. Tell the tenant that, since they took it upon themselves to kick the door in, they're liable for the repair costs. Apply the balance to their account and tell them that it must be paid. 

If it's not paid and they move out, and there are no other damages, then the deposit may cover the unpaid tenant charge.

There may be some statutory differences in your state, so check your local laws, but that'd be how we handle this situation (it's more common than you think, too).

On another note, did the locksmiths ever show up? I'm curious why there was such a long wait and what the cost of the fix would have been had the tenant not kicked the door in.

Thank thank you for your help. I was going to wait until they move out so that they will not do any further damage to the unit or decide to break the lease early anyways.

Apparently the property manager called several locksmiths but none of them showed up.  The first call the property manager got was after midnight on New Year's Eve night. I think if he hadn't kicked it in the only cost would be to replace the deadbolt.

Check your local laws.  Because your property allegedly failed (lock fell out) and you were unable to fix it in a timely manner, it could be considered a lock out of the tenant that was undeserved.  Couple that with the freezing temperatures and if you went to court the chips could fall either way, talk to the property manager, they know the law.

Sounds like you need a new property manager, $485.00 for door repair!!  They must have called a plumber instead of a carpenter.  And, they should have had a handyman on-call to address the issue before it came to door kicking. Or, the property manager may have sent the brother-n-law to fix the door and split the money with him. But, the tenant may also be over-elaborating on the facts.  Talk to the tenant and see if they will meet you half way if it half their fault.

I agree, I  would wait tell the move out before you  settle up on the issue . If they think the owe money they may tear the place up more.

The tenant should have called PM for  a key .

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