Who is responsible for re-painting a rental between renters? Can this expense be taken out of the security deposit of the previous renter?

repainting in between tenants

"Who is responsible for re-painting a rental between renters? Can this expense be taken out of the security deposit of the previous renter?"

 

Submitted by John from Indianapolis, IN

 

 

 

 

Hello John,

This is a pretty common question for most landlords.  Rules regarding security deposits vary by location, but generally a landlord can withhold a security deposit if the tenant has caused damage beyond normal "wear and tear," has unpaid utilities or rent, or had agreed to a cleaning fee in the lease. Check with local laws for details on the reasons why a deposit can be withheld.

When it comes to painting, a portion of the security deposit could be withheld if the tenant had caused damage that necessitated the painting. However, if a landlord just want to give it a refreshed look, that is not something that could be deducted.

 

What if the property owner doesn't want the renter's friends on the property?

"I am helping to manage a small trailer park. The owner lives on the property also. They want to control who enters the the renters property. Even if the renter is friends with the owner doesn't want on the property. The owner throws a fit and says they don't want that person on their property."

 

Submitted by Sheila from Whitehall, Montana

 

Hi Sheila,

It sounds like you and the owner have a different idea of how best to manage the property. Communication and being on the same page is important between a property manager and an owner, since the property manager is the liaison for the property owner.

If you are uncomfortable with what a property owner is doing it is best to end the PM / owner relationship.

Do you have evictions notices? This is my first time evicting tenants.

"I have renters in my property that have been late and paid less than their rent for the last two months. I have told them that they will need to vacate if the rent is less than the full amount this month. Do you have evictions notices? This is my first time evicting tenants."

Submitted by Penny from Huntington Beach.

evictions

Hello Penny,

Since this is your first time going through the eviction process, there are a few things that you'll want to know. Be sure to check with your state and county laws when starting the eviction process. 

The first step would be to issue notice. You will need to find the right notice for your situation, wait for the notice time to expire, then you would have the option to file for an eviction with the court, depending on the laws for your area. 

For eviction forms, you can check your local office supply store, and some real estate offices may have them as well.

Since there is a possibility that you may be filing an eviction case, or "Unlawful Detainer" case, be sure to check with your county court for information on how to proceed and for more information.

 

What rights do I have if a tenant wants a deposit back after choosing not to rent my house?

Tenants paid securing the house prior to lease contract and to remove the rental sign and advertisement. Now person has changed their mind therefor demanding the deposit for to secured the house for the lease mean while I lost least 10 potential prospective tenants for the my house.


What rights do I have as landlord?

 

 

Submitted by Very Stressed Landlord in Denver, Colorado

The first thing to do is to review the agreement that you had with your applicant. The best practice is to have a section in the rental agreement, and possibly a stand alone document depending on your local guidelines, that outlines the terms of holding the property. The terms might include information on whether or not the deposit is refundable, how long it will be held for, how much notice an applicant must give to the landlord, etc.

Having clear and well-documented communication with applicants can help you avoid misunderstandings that can prevent you from filling a vacancy.

Remember, some states have specific requirements for additional documents that must be reviewed and signed by a tenant prior to signing a lease. For instance, some states require the lead paint disclosure be completed. 

If you're unsure of your state's requirements for leases and deposits, you can have a real estate attorney look over the documents that you use in your rental process.

Please note:  The information and links provided on this website is for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.  The staff that monitors and responds to these blog posts are not attorneys nor do we have attorneys on staff.  Any specific legal questions should be directed to competent legal council in your area.

Can a landlord charge me for the removal of items that were present in the house when I moved in?

Can a landlord charge me for the removal of items that were present in the house when I moved in? And can I be charged for removal of garbage that was placed in the public alley that was scheduled for pick up?

I can not prove the items are not mine, but she knows that they were already there.

Submitted by Mary from St. Louis, MO

 

In situations like these, the best defense is a good offense. When moving into a new property, review the lease carefully to see what the policies are regarding utilities, including trash pickup. If anything is unclear, ask questions. 

It's also a good idea to complete a condition report before moving in. The condition report is the checklist that landlords and renters complete during move-in and move-out.

If there are items left behind from previous renters, be sure to document them and discuss how they will be taken care of.  When moving out, fill out another condition report with the landlord so that you can agree upon the condition of the property when you left. This can help you avoid any confusion over damage or personal items left behind.

Be sure to take a look at an article that we recently published with tips for a successful move in.

 

Please note:  The information and links provided on this website is for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.  The staff that monitors and responds to these blog posts are not attorneys nor do we have attorneys on staff.  Any specific legal questions should be directed to competent legal council in your area.

Does an apartment complex have to disclose that an apt previously flooded?

flooding disclosure

"Does an apt complex have to disclose that an apt previously flooded?"

Submitted by Ann from St. Louis, MO

 




While we aren't aware of a flood disclosure requirement on the federal level, like the disclosure that in required in situations when lead-based paint is present in a property, it's a good idea to check with your local laws on this matter.

Here is more information on landlord-tenant laws and resources for St. Louis: http://www.joetenant.com/missouri-landlord-tenant-laws.

 

Please note:  The information and links provided on this website is for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.  The staff that monitors and responds to these blog posts are not attorneys nor do we have attorneys on staff.  Any specific legal questions should be directed to competent legal council in your area.

If I'm charging $1600/mo for rent how much should I charge for safety deposit and pet deposit?

"If I'm charging $1600/mo for rent how much should I charge for safety deposit and pet deposit?"

Submitted by Tabitha from Georgia

The biggest factor in setting an amount for security and pet deposits is location, location, location. Security deposits and pet deposits vary by state, so you'll want to check with state, county, and city guidelines before setting the amount. You can find general Georgia Security Deposit laws here. 

State laws also require the certain procedures be followed by the landlord with using and returning security deposits, so plan for that when drawing up a lease. 

When it comes to pet deposits, it's important to keep in mind that service animals and pets are not the same thing. Tenants cannot be charged a pet deposit for a service animal under the Fair Housing Act.

Here is more information on reasonable accommodations and service animals as it relates to the Fair Housing Act.

7 tips for renters with pets.jpeg

I was wondering if you know of any excel forms out there for trust accounting?

 "I was wondering if you know of any excel forms out there for trust accounting? i can set up one myself, but thought it would be cool if there was a download.... Thanks!"

Sara,

Off the top of my head I don't know of a an Excel form, but I am sure there are ones out there.

Here is a downloadable MS Word form, if that helps!. 

Submitted by Sara from Montana

computer search.jpg

Can my property manager charge me pet rent for my service animal?

My Property Manager told me that they can still legally charge me a "pet rent" for my service animal. Is that true? I brought up that she's an ESA and that ESA's are protected by the ADA and the Fair Housing Act and they said "the law doesn't apply to property management". Thank you.

A housing provider is not allowed to charge an additional fee to someone requesting a reasonable accommodation.

People often confuse the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the Fair Housing Act (FHA) While I don't believe emotional support animals are covered under the ADA, as indicated below in a quote from the Department of Justice:  

"The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA."

 They are covered under the Fair Housing Act.   

Here is more information on reasonable accommodations and service animals as it relates to the Fair Housing Act.

Submitted by Kelsi from Pennsylvania

Is an applicant required to report service animals on their rental application?

"A person applies and is accepted for an apartment. On her application, she does not release the information that she has a service dog. She signs the lease and moves in.  At her "move in" appointment, she hands over a prescription for a service dog.  This prescription is dated one month prior to her seeing and applying for the apartment.  We feel like this was information that was "hidden" from us.  Is there any by laws that I can review that talks about false or "hidden" information on an application.  Because it is a service dog....does this person have to check the pet question?"

Kelly,

Well reversing the question:

Would you have done anything differently if you did know?  Hopefully not.

If a person with a disability is requesting a reasonable accommodation, as a housing provider you would need to oblige.

Many cases have shown that the request for a service animal is typically considered to be a reasonable request.

You can read more about service animals here.

 

Submitted by Kelly from Montana

are-tenants-required-to-disclose-service-animals-on-rental-application.jpg

Can you charge more rent if the tenant has a baby?

"Can you charge more money for rent if you have a baby.....each baby a $100 will be added?" 

Reanda,

Familial Status (or the presence of a child) is federally protected in fair housing class.

More information for the United States Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is copied below for your reference.

 

 

 Housing Opportunities for Families

Unless a building or community qualifies as housing for older persons, it may not discriminate based on familial status. That is, it may not discriminate against families in which one or more children under 18 live with:

  • A parent
  • A person who has legal custody of the child or children or
  • The designee of the parent or legal custodian, with the parent or custodian's written permission.

Familial status protection also applies to pregnant women and anyone securing legal custody of a child under 18.

Exemption: Housing for older persons is exempt from the prohibition against familial status discrimination if:

  • The HUD Secretary has determined that it is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government program or
  • It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older or
  • It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates an intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

Submitted by Reanda from Pennsylvania

Can you charge more rent if tenant has a baby