If there is going to be a dispute between Honolulu landlords and Honolulu tenants, it will likely revolve around the security deposit. It’s important to have excellent documentation and to understand the difference between tenant damage and normal wear and tear when you’re inspecting your rental property before a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out.
Move-In Inspections of your Honolulu Rental Property
Honolulu owners need a thorough, well-documented move-in inspection before handling the keys over to the tenants. If you don’t have a written move-in inspection report that includes photos, you’ll have a hard time proving what the property looked like before your tenants moved in. Go through every room in the house, and document how the walls, floors, ceilings, and appliances look. Pictures and videos will help you protect yourself against claims that a tenant’s security deposit was improperly charged.
Common Security Deposit Charges
Wear and tear is common, and something that Honolulu investors have to expect. You cannot charge the tenant for things like light bulbs that have burned out, touch-up paint, smoke detector batteries, and worn carpet that has aged over the years. You cannot charge for normal scuff marks or small nail holes in the walls. Water spotting from faucets is wear and tear as well.
Things you can charge the deposit for include large tears in carpet or holes in flooring, medium or large sized holes in walls, and damage to trim or baseboards. Professional cleaning and carpet cleaning can be charged to the tenant, and if there is damage to window screens, unreported plumbing issues that caused rot or decay, or torn up landscaping due to pets or misuse, you can charge the deposit.
You can charge for any labor costs when you use a licensed vendor or contractor. If you are making repairs to the property yourself, you can only charge the tenants for materials. You are required to provide an accounting that demonstrates where the tenant’s money is spent.
Managing Tenant Security Deposit Disputes
When we have a tenant who disputes what was withheld from the deposit, we review the move-in report and compare it to the move-out report. We want to make sure the charges were right and accurate. However, if the documentation supports the charges made, then we’ll enforce them.
Security deposit questions can leave you on shaky legal ground. Protect yourself and work with a professional Honolulu property management company. If you have questions or need help, be sure to contact us at HappyDoors Property Management.