Can I deduct cleaning fee from deposit?

4 Replies

I am renting out my san diego house and the tenant says he is moving. I never had a formal contract from him but I do have his $1900 deposit. He has lived there for 2 years.

Can I deduct for carpet cleaning and repainting of the house? What am I legally allowed to deduct from his deposit?

You're renting property (for two years) in the strictest consurmer protection state and you're not up on the laws! Time to get with it. You might want to see about joining your local property owner's (apartment manager's) association and/or a local RE investment club. Lots of good ideas there.

I sold my CA house four years ago so I'm not 100% up to date but the short answer to both questions is NO. Painting (after two years) is normal wear and tear. I think carpet cleaning after the same period would be the same.

BTW, your deposit is WAY TOO LOW! How did you arrive at $1900? Most landlords (incorrectly in my view) charge one month's rent as deposit. In San Diego one month's rent would have to be at least $400K if my neice is to be believed on house prices, and I think she is.

My rule of thumb was that my SECURITY DEPOSIT (not cleaning deposit) was equal to about 130% of monthly rent. So if the rent is $3,000, the SECURITY DEPOSIT is $3900! Hope they don't stiff you!

all cash

Painting is not cleaning or normal wear and tear so don't charge for any painting UNLESS tenant caused damage that requires that the property be repaired.

You should have a lease with next tenant and formulate a cleaning checklist for when the property is rented and how it should be left when tenant vacates.

Originally posted by "all cash":

My rule of thumb was that my SECURITY DEPOSIT (not cleaning deposit) was equal to about 130% of monthly rent. So if the rent is $3,000, the SECURITY DEPOSIT is $3900! Hope they don't stiff you!
all cash
In Ohio this would be a minor no-no. First of all if you have a real estate license you can not charge over 100% rent for the deposit. Second, if you ask for a deposit that is more than 100% then you will have to pay interest back to the tenant for the amount over the 100%.

YMMV

I've learned that security deposit "laws" depend on the state your property is in. You should make a checklist of items that affect your security deposit. Before your tenant moves in, you do a walkthrough with the tenant and mark all issues. The tenant should sign off that otherwise, everything looks good. Before taking back the keys, you do another walk-through with the same checklist. If there are additional items, other than normal wear & tear, you have a legit reason to hold back security monies.