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Tip #85:  Say “Cheese”! landlord helpThe end of the year means the end of a lease term for many landlords and tenants.

With the move-out comes the move-out inspection, and the subsequent deductions to the tenant’s security deposit.

Maybe it’s the economy, but tenants seem more likely than ever before to fight deposit deductions, including taking landlords to small claims court.

Tenants haven’t got as much to lose trying their luck in court, because judges are often tenant-friendly, and many states allow significant penalties against the landlord if the deductions are not justified.

So be sure to take photos or videos of the property when the tenant moves out to document any damages that you plan to deduct for.

Don’t have the right camera, video recorder or phone?  Now’s the time to drop hints about your Holiday Wish List, or take advantage of some of the great end-of-year sales.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your rental housing investment, including rental forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at

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