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Tip # 216: Do No Harm

Be careful you don’t fall into this trap:

Your problem tenant is finally gone, but they’ve left behind a mess. You spend the weekend hauling trash, fixing walls, cleaning and repainting. Frustrated, you transfer the funds from their security deposit to pay for all of the out-of-pocket losses, and try to forget it all happened.

While you may be entitled to claim those security deposit funds, you still have to follow the rules for deductions, even if the tenant was irresponsible. Otherwise, this story could end with you actually owing money to the deadbeat tenant!

Always review your local landlord-tenant rules before transferring any security deposit funds. You may be required to provide notice to the tenant, and it’s likely you will need to create an accounting, including receipts for any repairs made to the property.

Hold on to that documentation in case your tenant challenges the deductions.

The best defense against a bad tenant is to assume they will argue every deduction you make…so plan accordingly.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

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