Author Topic: Damages in excess of security deposit  (Read 1126 times)

blikeafox

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Damages in excess of security deposit
« on: September 05, 2018, 08:38:10 AM »
We just had some tenants move out and won't be returning their security deposit ($2,400). They owe $2,520 in unpaid rent. Additionally, they left behind a ton of stuff that we have to get rid of including some large items of furniture, and they painted some walls (which the lease did not permit) and we have to paint them back. I know that we are not going to get any additional money from them, but I do want to include those damages in the notice of damages letter I send (whenever they actually send a forwarding address). Would you say in the letter that that they owe us X amount in excess of the security deposit even knowing that they aren't going to pay and we're not going to take them to court for it? Or just say the total amount owed and say that since it's in excess of the deposit, we are not returning the deposit?

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Damages in excess of security deposit
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2018, 10:10:42 AM »
Just send them a ledger:

2400 damage deposit

-2520 unpaid rent
-furniture removal cost
-paint cost
-anything else in excess of wear and tear

= balance owed

Provide a due date within 30 days, and if no forwarding address or no payment, consider small claims court.

Sibley

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Re: Damages in excess of security deposit
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2018, 07:24:05 PM »
If you're not willing to take a tenant to court for nonpayment of rent, then you might want to rethink your decision to be a landlord.

What happens when your tenant trashes the place, causing thousands of dollars in damage? Cause it happens.

tralfamadorian

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Re: Damages in excess of security deposit
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2018, 07:19:23 AM »
Depending on the OP's location, small claims, garnishment and/or collections may or may not be worth the hassle. Also, in many states it is not legal for a landlord to keep a security deposit for unpaid rent amounts. If so, if the OP did decide to go the small claims route, it would be important to word it as the security deposit went towards damage and they are seeking the unpaid rent amount.

blikeafox

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Re: Damages in excess of security deposit
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2018, 01:09:16 PM »
Thanks for your ideas. In CT, we are allowed to keep security deposit for unpaid rent. I have looked into small claims court, but I don't think it's worth it for the amount, probably a few hundred dollars over the security deposit, and we'd pay about $200 in fees, not including the cost of time. Even then, that doesn't guarantee that we'll actually get the money from them in the end.

I guess my question was more on the side of if they should push back (i.e.take us to small claims court), I want to make sure I listed everything. Maybe the best would be to list everything and ask for payment with the knowledge we probably aren't going to get it.

I would definitely do court for thousands of dollars or even more in the hundreds, but I don't think it makes sense here.

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Damages in excess of security deposit
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2018, 03:16:38 PM »
If you're not willing to take a tenant to court for nonpayment of rent, then you might want to rethink your decision to be a landlord.

What happens when your tenant trashes the place, causing thousands of dollars in damage? Cause it happens.

This.  Also, do what @patchyfacialhair said.  You're a business, not a charity.  Small Claims doesn't cost much except some of your time. 

Long haul

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Re: Damages in excess of security deposit
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2018, 04:18:03 PM »
After you have a box full of worthless judgements and get tired of trying to have them served in the first place, consider turning them over to a collection department. Yes, you'll probably never get much but at least you can put it on their credit & possibly, someday get paid. I can't spend a day at the Hall of Injustice for a deadbeat that probably won't pay & a judge that will cut my claim down. So I let it go in my mind & turn them over to collections if it's significant enough to me. Clean & simple.

 

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Damages in excess of security deposit
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2018, 04:27:40 PM »
After you have a box full of worthless judgements and get tired of trying to have them served in the first place, consider turning them over to a collection department. Yes, you'll probably never get much but at least you can put it on their credit & possibly, someday get paid. I can't spend a day at the Hall of Injustice for a deadbeat that probably won't pay & a judge that will cut my claim down. So I let it go in my mind & turn them over to collections if it's significant enough to me. Clean & simple.

This is what I did when working for large property management company.

At final walk through (with or without tenant there), I would document and photograph any damages that I planned to charge for, put them in a ledger back in my office, print it out, and mail it immediately to the tenant's forwarding address. If a refund was due, I included a note that my accounting team would cut a check on X date, so they could expect it a few days after that. If a balance was owed, I'd include a due date with a note that said that they could pay by that date, set up a payment plan with me by that date, or I would send to collections.

I had some folks paying $50/month on old damaged apartments, but at least it didn't hit their credit, and I still got some money.

If it got to the point where I didn't hear from someone by the due date, I'd call them and send an email if they didn't pick up, advising them that I'd be sending them to collections by the end of the day if I didn't hear back.

With collections, I got a portion of the money back, or nothing, but there was no downside to me. I was either writing the money off or getting something.

PizzaSteve

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Re: Damages in excess of security deposit
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2018, 04:34:42 PM »
Regarding excess furniture, is there any obligation to store or retain items for any specific period of time?

Dicey

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Re: Damages in excess of security deposit
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2018, 09:21:59 AM »
In my state, if the LL doesn't provide an itemized statement of damages and/or refund the deposit within X number of days, the LL is considered at fault regardless of loss. Be sure you know the rules in your state and act within the legally mandated time period.