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What Am I Able to Charge Tenants for Upon Move Out?

David Cota - Wednesday, July 10, 2019


Many owners struggle to determine what types of things they can charge tenants for when they move out of the property. Technically, you should never be looking for a reason to charge your tenant’s security deposit.

The best way to determine which expenses you can charge your tenants for and which expenses you’ll need to cover yourself is by having great move-in inspection notes as well as photos or videos. Then, when your tenants move out, you’ll have that documentation to refer to when you’re checking to see if things look the same as they did when your tenant moved in. Normal wear and tear is not something you can charge a tenant for; it’s to be expected every time you rent your home out, and you’ll need to cover those costs yourself.

What Can You Charge a Tenant For?

You can definitely charge the tenant to clean the house or for professional carpet cleaning. Most leases will require tenants to do this before they move out and if they don’t, you’re justified in charging the security deposit. If you need to patch up holes in the walls that they created, you can also charge them for that expense.

Make sure you look at the laws as to what you can and cannot charge for. Each state is a little different, and you’ll need to know if there are specific things that the law requires landlords to pay for.

If your property has carpet, you will need to follow a pro-rated depreciation schedule to determine the amount you can charge your tenants. Those carpets generally fall under the wear and tear guidelines. Paint is another item that needs to be pro-rated. Like carpets, painting needs to be replaced every few years. So, the amount you charge will depend on your property and the length of the tenancy. If you have not painted or put in new carpet in six years and your tenant was only in place for one year, you cannot charge that tenant for the cost of completely new carpet and paint after move-out.

Move-In Inspection Sheets

documentation - thumbnail When you’re conducting your move-in and move-out inspections, it’s crucial to have a consistent way to document the condition of your home. The initial move-in inspection sheet must be filled out properly from the beginning, and it must be available to compare and reference. This will help you check off the normal wear and tear items anfd indicate if there is something that the tenant damaged with neglect, abuse, or accident. The damage can be charged to a security deposit; the wear and tear cannot.

Understanding what you can and cannot charge for can be confusing, which is why you want to hire a good property management company to help with it all.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us at PropM Property Management. As a professional property management company serving the Sarasota/Bradenton & Portland areas, we have a lot of experience with security deposits and wear and tear.