I have a rental house that was vacated by the tenants and left in horrible condition. The carpet has cigarette burns and the walls have many holes. Also, the house has a urine smell which will need professional services to remove. My security deposit was $800 and I estimate that it will take more to return the house to a "rentable" condition. Now the x-tenants want me to return the deposit and are threatening to sue. Do you have any advise? Allan-New York,NY
The first step in covering your assets is to document all the damages in the house. You should take photos in addition to a thorough description of each and every damage. Next to each damage you should assign the dollar amount needed to repair the damage with any estimates or invoices you may have.
After itemizing the damage, you should create a Security Deposit Settlement Statement which should include all the information that you gathered. If the cost of repairs exceeds the deposit, you should indicate that the tenant owes you additional money. Send this statement along with a demand for payment via certified mail. Dont forget to include the movein inspection report to document the condition of your house.
Note to all landlords: Never forget to have your tenants fill out a move-in inspection report....in court, it is your best defense in collection damages.