Tenant was shown prior to moving in the general area of the yard that she should avoid driving over because of the septic tank. Her moving truck shows up, rolls right on top of the tank. I had our maintenance company run a camera down the pipe and it had not broken, at a cost of 150 dollars.
Cut to last month, I went to the house because she was moving out and I wanted to put stakes in the ground to keep it from happening again. She was likely drunk and definitely belligerent because she didn't like where I put the stakes, she told me she was going to take them out and started advancing toward me with wild eyes and hands raised, I just kept backing up until she gave up because even if she hit me I would end up looking like the bad guy because she is 85 and I am sure that manipulative POS was trying to trap me. I told her if she took the stakes out in defiance of my express order to leave them be, that she would have to pay out of the security for me to have the tank inspected.
So I went to see the house after she left and it is very clear the stakes came out and were put back in, I took a picture when I placed them and they are in a different order now.
Does anyone see a problem with my using some of the security for this? I am wondering because it isn't technically to fix damage incurred, but I will have to pay not only for them to run the camera but also to have it pumped, when they ran the camera last year I had just had it pumped, and I would not have had it pumped again until next year.
You can use the security deposit for things allowed by the landlord-tenant laws for your jurisdiction and for things you mention in your lease/rental agreement. Be sure to send your final report of return/retention of deposit in a timely fashion and absolutely before the deadline stated by law.
These are the categories we use in our final Deposit/Move-out Report:
Unpaid Rent, Unpaid Late Fees, Unpaid Lease Violation Fees, Unpaid Utilities, Moving & Disposal, Extra Cleaning, Missing Items, Damages, Professional Fees (such as legal or specialty services).
Have you been charging her for damages as you discover them, or were you waiting until the end of tenancy. It's best to address issues and charge for damages as you go. If you wait, the security deposit is rarely enough.
If you absolutely can't have trucks running over a portion of the yard, then fence the area. Check with the septic tank company as to what they think is reasonable as far as how close to a septic tank and field a truck can go. Question... Is running the camera necessary according to industry standards or professional advice? Did you charge her for running the camera last year?
Is there evidence of damage to your property? You could schedule the septic service company to empty, clean and inspect the tank. Document the current condition. If there is damage to repair due to the tenant's negligence, then by all means charge the tenant with the cost of such repair. As to charging the tenant to clean the tank, since you are feeling the need to inspect the tank sooner and empty it now, if there is no damage, then I would prorate the cleaning as to what would be reasonable for one year of use and leave it at that.
I put the stakes in to keep anyone from driving over the septic tank area, it really doesn't require a fence, the stakes are plenty of notice that one should not drive any further. The issue wasn't that the stakes weren't sufficient, it was that she removed the stakes against my express directive to leave the stakes and that I didn't want a truck driving past a certain point.
Septic tank and pipes are underground so really no way to determine by eyeballing exactly where they are and if they sustained damage except to get it inspected, which is what the camera is for. I would not ever get it inspected but for her malfeasance.
It doesn't matter what the septic company thinks is a reasonable amount to drive up to the septic as I have no idea how close the truck got or if the truck went over it. All I know is if my stakes had been respected and left in place I would have been certain that the truck didn't go over it or damage it, and that she removed the stakes for the express purpose of allowing the truck to drive into an area I told her not to drive on.
She is already gone, so I can't evict her.