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Tenant Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to your common questions

  • Q: Can I use my Security Deposit as my last months rent?+

    A: No, you cannot without written approval from the landlord. The Security Deposit is meant to cover damages under the terms of the lease.
  • Q: Does a landlord have to return my deposit if I put it down to hold the property and I changed my mind?+

    A: No, a landlord does not have to return your deposit if you changed your mind. If the landlord decides not to rent it, they would need to return your deposit.
  • Q: How big can the security deposit be?+

    A: In an unfurnished rental, the landlord can require up to two months of rent as a security. A furnished rental unit can require a deposit three times rent or more in some cases.
  • Q: How can I avoid a Security Deposit dispute when I move out?+

    A: Simply, keep great records. Use your phone to shoot video or take pictures. This should be done when you move in, to avoid any issues.
  • Q: How often can a landlord raise my rent?+

    A: If you do not have a lease, it could be raised as often as properly notified. This would be protected by signing a lease with terms that state the rent is X from beginning date to lease expiration date.
  • Q: Is the landlord required to repair all of my requests?+

    A: No, the landlord is required to offer and maintain the rental unit and common areas as “habital” condition unless the tenant has caused the problem or damage. Habitable means the unit does not have problems that can affect health and safety of the tenants.
  • Q: What can be deducted from my Security Deposit?+

    A: A landlord can deduct unpaid rent, cleaning, damages beyond normal wear and tear. Tenants are required (and expected) to leave the unit as clean as when they moved in. This includes carpet, drapes, blinds, ovens, microwaves, window sills, etc, etc. Normal wear and tear is expected and would consist of natural discoloration of paint, carpet etc due to time, sun and more. Dirt is not normal wear and tear and would be required to be cleaned or removed. Click here to view our Vacating Checklist
  • Q: What can I do if the landlord keeps my security deposit?+

    A: You should write a letter to the landlord demanding an itemized deduction. If this does not help to solve the problem, you can file a small claims case at your local court.
  • Q: What do I do if I just don’t have the money to pay rent?+

    A: If you know in advance, please call as soon as possible to discuss. We will do our best to see if we can arrange something. If you are unable to make rent, you need to move out as soon as possible before the issue gets more expensive with attorneys, late fees, etc.
  • Q: What if the owner sells the property I’m renting?+

    A: If your property is sold, the current landlord would need to transfer any deposits, prepaid rent over to the new owner. The new owner would know he/she is purchasing a property with a current tenant occupying it and you would be contacted to discuss options of remaining in throughout the lease, or being released of your lease and giving ample time to move out. You will be involved and have some input.
  • Q: What kind of pets are not allowed?+

    A: PropM, Inc. is pet-friendly and we understand the important role your furry companion plays in your life. Breed and animal restrictions will vary by each individually owned property. For your convenience, please find the Restricted Breed list below for your review.

    The following animals are strictly prohibited:

    Breeds of Dogs:

    • Pit Bulls
    • Rottweiler
    • German Shepherds
    • Huskies
    • Malamutes
    • Dobermans
    • Chow Chows
    • St. Bernard
    • Great Dane
    • Akita
    • Terrier (Staffordshire)
    • American Bull Dog
    • Wolf Hybrid
    • Presa Canarios
    • Karelian Bear Dog
    • Any hybrid or mixed breed of one of the aforementioned breeds

    Poisonous Animals:

    • Tarantulas
    • Piranhas

    Exotic Animals:

    • Reptiles (snakes, iguanas)
    • Ferrets
    • Skunks
    • Raccoons
    • Squirrels
    • Rabbits
    • Birds (parrots, cockatiels, macaws)
  • Q: What will the landlord do if I don’t pay rent?+

    A: If arrangements cannot be made, you will receive a 3 Day notice to pay rent or quit. This notice gives you 3 days to pay rent. The days start, the day after you receive the 3 day notice.
  • Normal Wear and Tear vs Damage

    Normal wear and tear is different than tenant caused damage. Normal wear and tear occurs naturally over time. Damage caused by tenants isn’t a result of aging but is a result of negligence, carelessness or abuse. Normal wear and tear is required to be paid for by the landlord and tenant damage is not.

    In the table below we will illustrate examples of types of normal wear and tear and tenant caused damage and the differences between the two.

    Differences Between Normal Wear and Tear vs Damage

    Type of Material

    Average Useful Life

    Normal Wear and Tear
    (Landlord’s Responsibility)

    Tenant Damage
    (Tenant’s Responsibility)

    Carpet

    5 years

    Gently worn carpets that show some worn patches but no holes or stains

    Pet caused damage such as heavily stained carpets and ripped carpeting

    Hardwood Flooring

    25 years

    Fading of flooring due to sunlight exposure

    Deeply scratched hardwood floors or pieces of the hardwood missing

    Tile Flooring

    25 years

    Dirty grout surrounding the tiles

    Broken or chipped tiles or missing tiles

    Windows

    20 years

    Lightly scratched glass and worn, loose hardware

    Broken glass, ripped screens, broken window hardware

    Countertops

    20+ years

    Scratches and light watermarks

    Chipped countertops, burnt areas, and/or multiple stains

    Walls

    Lifetime

    Cracks in the walls caused by settling

    Holes in the walls, damage from hanging pictures

    Paint

    3 years

    Fading paint from sunlight and minor scuffing from daily use

    Paint that has been scribbled on, unauthorized paint colors

    For a better understanding of the difference between the two (and when you can deduct the tenant’s deposit), let’s take a look at the two most common examples, which are normal wear and tear vs damaged carpet and normal wear and tear vs damaged paint.

    Normal Wear and Tear vs Damaged Carpet

    If the carpet has been in place for 5 years or longer, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to replace it, since that is the length of the carpet’s useful life. If the carpet has light sun damage or is showing signs of wear, that is normal wear and tear and the landlord cannot blame the tenant.

    It’s the landlord’s responsibility to keep the property free of hazards. So, if the carpet has worn out over the years and become a trip hazard, it should be immediately replaced and paid for by the landlord. But, if the carpet has been ripped or has excessive fraying, it’s the tenant’s fault and the cost to replace it can be deducted from the tenant’s security deposit.

    Further, if the carpet is stained either by a pet or spilling food, wine, dirt, and more, it’s considered tenant-caused damage and can also be deducted from the security deposit. State laws vary on landlord tenant laws regarding security deposits but generally, the landlord needs to get a repair quote from a licensed contractor and send the tenant an itemized list of the damage along with the check for the remainder of the security deposit.

    Normal Wear and Tear vs Damaged Paint

    Peeling paint, sun damage or a small number of scuffs are considered normal wear and tear and the landlord should touch them up between tenants. Ceiling paint usually lasts longer since no one is constantly touching the ceiling. Ceiling paint should be touched up when a leak occurs or on an as-needed basis.

    If the paint has holes in it, excessive scuff marks or other marks such as drawings or scribbles, it is considered damage caused by a tenant. In this case, the cost to fix the damage and paint the walls will be deducted from the tenant’s security deposit. You can do this by getting a quote from a licensed contractor and sending the tenant an itemized list of the damage, along with the check for the rest of their security deposit.

    “The easiest way to discern between wear and tear and tenant caused damage is to think of wear and tear as any damage that’s caused by natural forces or damage that’s caused by daily use. Tenant caused damage should be thought of as damage requiring more than routine maintenance to repair. Obviously, this doesn’t include things like a leaky pipe or things that would happen to the property regardless of who the tenant was.”