Security deposit deductions.

6 Replies

We just movedout of the duplex we lived in for four years. We just got our security deposit back minus some deductions, that they itemized out for us. Most of them I'm fine with, a couple I don't like, but understand. But the deduction that bothers me the most is $110 for painting. Is it just me or is a white wall that needs painted over after four years of a young family living there, just normal wear and tear?
I've scoured my rental agreement, And the only thing I can find is one line item that says
"upon vacating the rental at the termination of the rental agreement, all cleaning, including but not limited to throw vacuuming, curtain and blind cleaning is the responsibility of the tenant."
Am I right to be upset about this? And what recourse do I have? I have not yet cashed the check.

I meant thorough vacuum! Dang Siri!
Anyways, the walls didn't have any damage or anything, other than normal holes from hanging pictures. So it wasn't like they were patching major holes and had to repaint because of that.

I meant thorough vacuum! Dang Siri!
Anyways, the walls didn't have any damage or anything, other than normal holes from hanging pictures. So it wasn't like they were patching major holes and had to repaint because of that.

@Brandon Luke , I know landlords who would include this charge--I wouldn't.  You have the right to object to any charges you would like but the procedure is probably governed by State law.  In Michigan, the tenant must respond in writing within 7 days of receiving the itemized list.  If the landlord does not agree and you feel strongly enough about this you could file a case in small claims court.  There will be a filing fee but you may get it refunded if you win your case. 

If it's just "normal wear and tear" type stuff, your landlord shouldn't be charging you for that.  No way for us to know without seeing it or knowing exactly what this charge was for. 

For example, a couple small nicks or nail holes in the wall would be "normal wear and tear" that you generally shouldn't be charged for.  On the other hand, if someone put their foot through the wall, that would be tenant-caused damage and something you generally would be charged for.

Hopefully you and/or the landlord took photos and documented the condition when you moved out.

If I were you, I would first contact the landlord and ask him specifically what this charge is for.  If you're happy with his explanation, then fine - it's over.  If you're not happy, try to work it out with him.  If you can't work it out, send him a written demand letter for the money.  If the matter still isn't resolved after that, you'll need to file a small claims lawsuit (if it's worth it to you to take it that far).

Here's a couple resources for you that further explain the process in your state:

Tenants Union of Washington State: Know Your Rights When Moving Out

Washington Law Help: Can I get my security deposit back? (specifically look at pg 5)

I would love to have a 4 yr tenant with no problems.  I would  I would think that landlord should be happy and just paint the one wall and be done with it.  He should not charge you for just living in the house 

Thanks for your help

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here