When you collect a security deposit from your Prosser tenants at the beginning of a lease period, you’ll hold that money until the end of the tenancy. It’s meant to protect you against unpaid rent, lease breaks, or damage left in the home that goes beyond normal wear and tear.
As you prepare to inspect the property and return the security deposit, make sure you understand the laws and requirements that pertain to it. Security deposits can be tricky, and there can be disputes with your tenants if they don’t understand why you’ve withheld some or all of their money.
Prosser Lease Agreements and Security Deposits
Your tenants will need to know what’s expected of them in order to receive their security deposit in full. The lease agreement must state the circumstances under which all or part of the deposit may be withheld. You’ll also need to inform your tenants of where their deposit is being held. Supply the bank name and location in the lease as well.
When you collect the deposit at the beginning of the lease term, you’ll be required to provide a statement or inspection report that identifies the condition of the property at the time the tenant takes possession.
After you’ve received your tenant’s notice to vacate, send them the language in your lease that includes the requirements at move-out. This will remind them of your expectations for the property.
Returning Your Prosser Tenant’s Security Deposit
After your tenants have vacated, you will have the opportunity to inspect the empty property and document its condition. Use your move-in inspection report to create a move-out inspection report. This allows you to compare the condition of the home at this point to the condition it was in when the tenants took possession.
Make sure you understand the limits of what you can deduct from the security deposit. If you deduct for something that is simply wear and tear, your tenants are likely to dispute the charge and possibly take you to court.
You can deduct any unpaid rent, unpaid utilities, or damage to the property. But, you cannot deduct for general wear and tear. Those small nail holes in the walls and scuff marks from where the sofa rested cannot be charged to the tenant.
Take pictures to document the property’s condition. If you notice damages that are beyond normal wear and tear, you can charge for that. Make sure you can demonstrate that those things were not broken or damaged at the beginning of the lease.
Prosser Security Deposit Timelines
Washington State law requires you to return the security deposit to the tenants within 21 days of the tenant moving out. If the tenant isn’t receiving a full deposit refund, you should send the amount that they are getting back with an itemized list of what you’ve deducted and why. Be specific and include receipts, invoices, and other documentation to support what you’ve charged.
Before your tenants leave your property, make sure you have a forwarding address so you can quickly send back the deposit.
As long as your process is fair, consistent, and well-documented, returning the security deposit should not be difficult. We know it can become challenging if you’re not sure how to categorize wear and tear versus damage or if you have tenants who are pushing back on what’s been deducted. We can help. Contact us at Real Estate Gladiators for all your Prosser property management needs.