With all the tasks associated with a tenant moving out of your rental home, trying to keep tabs of every little thing can be quite a serious challenge. But for Roslindale property owners, keeping abreast of those details is very important, especially in regards to refunding a former renter’s security deposit. Contingent on where your rental property’s location is, mishandling the security deposit refund could give rise to very pricey and unwanted legal battles. Making sense of the best practices for returning security deposits can lead you to fulfill your duties as a landlord in addition to guaranteeing you completely avoid any needless legal issues.
A security deposit is not income. The deposit includes funds kept for your tenant (which means it is their money); this deposit you should never spend or make use of while the renter is still staying at your property. Your lease should comprise a clear and specific language that describes the occurrences in which all or part of the security deposit will or will not be refunded. The top grounds for withholding portions of a tenant’s security deposit include recovering past-due rent, damage to the property (above ordinary wear and tear), unpaid utilities, or removing abandoned personal items. The amount you can retain and for what causes are conditional on local and state laws; be absolutely sure you have a definite knowledge and understanding of the regulations in your area.
In the same way, each state has a timeline for returning security deposits to past renters. The timeframe can be different in every place but generally ranges from 14 to 60 days beginning on the day the tenant relinquishes their occupation of the home. Failing to return a security deposit and any related documentation of amounts withheld by the required deadline may result in a number of consequences, including:
- losing the right to deduct any portion of the deposit for damages or unpaid rent
- facing a lawsuit in small claims court
- other monetary penalties allowed by local or state law (e.g., owner to pay 3 times the deposit)
When refunding a security deposit, without regard to whether partial or in full, it is critical to include a statement detailing the refund and use a check for a clear paper trail. If you have withheld however much of the deposit, you may also be asked to send receipts denoting the amounts withheld and the cause for each one. Creating and sending clear documentation is a landlord’s choicest safeguard against any complaints of mishandling a security deposit.
Understanding the complexities of returning a security deposit is a vital element of successful Roslindale property management, but so is keeping the right people on your team. Real Property Management Boston can manage all the specific details for you including streamlining your move-out process, security deposit refunds, and ensuring you and your property stay clear of legal trouble. If you would wish to really know more, contact us online or call us at 617-996-0708 today.
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