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Tip #161:  Double Take

In the event that you have to take deductions from a tenant’s deposit, you will have to provide proof of the damage — like photos, and receipts for repairs.

But in order to survive a challenge from the tenant over the deductions, you also have to prove that the tenant caused the damage.  That can only be done if you also have the “before” shots to back up your claim.

So, before the tenant moves in, be sure to take photos, and keep track of receipts for any work done in restoring the unit from the last tenant.

It also helps to have a policy of “checking the tenant in” — a form they sign on day one to show what damage, if any, is already there.  Have them sign it when they move in, and allow them another 7-10 days once they are in to make any updates. You can use the same form again when the tenant moves out to record areas of damage.

It may seem like a lot of effort, but it will be well worth it if the tenant argues over the deposit deductions later on.

 See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

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