Can I charge to tenant, how much

7 Replies

After signed one year's lease, tenant stayed only 5 month then bought a house in the same neighborhood.  I was nice enough to let him out of the lease as long as I would find another tenant which I did.  However, after moving out walk through, I found 1) he didn't water the lawn in last 5 month that all lawn became brown, though the yard has well covered sprinkler systems (see the picture).  2) he didn't remove three security camera on outside walls.  I agreed to let him put on these camera and he also agreed to patch up and uninstall them when move out, but he fail to do that.  So my question:  For lawn problem can I charge the damage (such as replacement cost to him), though I don't plan to plant any new lawn (since new tenant has moved in already)?  Same for the outside camera, new tenant feel that leave them there would help to scare away potential burglary, can I charge the removing and patch up the wall cost even I plan to leave the camera along?  How much?  I though eventually I will remove the camera in future anyway.



Jim, it is up to you. If you have already returned the renter's security deposit then it is tough to get money back from them (unless you talk to him/her and get it from them or take him/her to court). Personally, I wouldn't worry about it unless they agreed to pay you after contacting them. Would not really be worth it to take them to court for the payment.

@Jim G. Repair the grass and deduct it from the security deposit. If you leave the cameras then you can’t charge them to remove it later. Or do nothing and charge nothing. But when this tenant moved out in a year or two or whenever you can’t then charge them any amount of money for the yard since the move in condition was as you stated.

Abide by the agreement. Get a lawn expert to determine what the cost would be to recover the lawn. Pre-pay for the service and charge the tenant. Hire a contractor to remove the security cameras and repair the holes, then charge the tenant. 

Don't make special concessions for a tenant, particularly when you don't know if they are even abiding by the basic lease obligations.

If the lawn hadn't been watered for five months, why are you just noticing it now? Sure, you can do what Nathan says above, but in the future you should be more diligent about monitoring your property. This should have been addressed four months ago. 

Beyond that, if it's in your lease, then yes, you can charge your actual expense for the repairs. If it's not in the lease, suck it up and pay for the repairs and consider it a great learning opportunity and button up the lease for the next tenant.