What Cleaning and Repair Charges Can a Landlord Deduct from Your Security Deposit?

in Legal Issues, Moving on by

Security deposits are used to cover excessive damage done by a renter. They’re kept as a means if insurance, so the renter can’t leave the rental property without paying for damages.

To Protect Against Damages Exceeding Expected Wear and Tear

Normal wear and tear of the property is anticipated by every landlord, but reckless damage or neglect on the part of the renter are not tolerated. Such circumstances are justification for the landlord to exercise use of the security deposit. Remember, living in filth and leaving the apartment in total disarray is also considered to be neglectful. A security deposit can be used for repairs and/or cleaning the apartment.

Protect Yourself by Marking Down Damages on the Day of Move in

Be proactive before signing the lease. Carefully inspect the property and list any current condition the needs repair or cleaning. Don’t accept potential financial responsibility for something that preceded your lease conditions.

Being responsible for the rental property is the cardinal rule to getting your entire security deposit back when your lease ends. The landlord’s expectation is that a renter will leave the property in livable condition upon moving out. This refers to structural damage as well as cleaning the property. The owner can deduct a variety of cleaning and repair charges from the security deposit, under certain circumstances.

Responsibilities: The Lardlord’s and the Tenant’s

The best insurance to guarantee being refunded your entire security deposit is to treat the rental property with care and respect. No one is asking you to sit quietly on the sofa for the duration of your lease. Have fun, chill out, party and entertain your friends but don’t be careless or destructive. Accidents do happen; everyone understands that, even the landlord. Repairs will be needed along the way—just don’t cause unnecessary, avoidable damage to the apartment. In most cases, care and respect of the apartment will insure that you get your entire security deposit back upon vacating the property.

6 Responses to “What Cleaning and Repair Charges Can a Landlord Deduct from Your Security Deposit?”

  1. December 12, 2011 at 12:57 am, Wilbur Campbell said:

    I am R. Wilbur Campbell, Jr. I am a 66 year old retiree from governmental agencies. I last lived at a Colonial Grand Property in Savannah, Ga. I transfered to a Colonial Grand @ Sugarloaf property in Lawrenceville, Ga April, 2009.

    I was offered an excellent lease rate fro one year. That lease was renewed in March 2010. Since that renewal (Nov4ember 2011) we were informed that The Landmark Residential Properties had bought Colonial Grand. I recently was informed of a $55.00 monthly increase in rent.. I am retired, didable and without funds to effect another move nor do I want to move. I love my “retirement home” as iy is.

    I have not been offered a renewal of my lease as yet. I’m worred. If I am not going to be renewed, I need a lot of time to try and do that. I’m alone.

    Since coming here, I have never missed a payment and often paid before it was due.

    Please help me.


    Wilbur Campbell


  2. January 31, 2012 at 4:26 am, VenitaB said:

    Wilbur, it is totally up to you if you stay or vacate the now Landmark Properties lilbur, a $55.00 a month increase is outrageous. Since you’ve been living there and other properties related to Colonial Grand for years you should not be affected by the Landmark takeover in such a drastic increase. A $5, maybe even up to a $15 increase depending on what if any upgrades are being made to make your stay there better and more pleasant would maybe be acceptable, but I say the nerve of Landmark, I also say how stupid of them. Here they have a tenant that has been there for years with no history of late rent or non payment of rent or any problems pertaining to paying rent if anything they should be looking at the fact that you have a tendency to pay ahead of time. Wilbur to me you seem to be a tenant that any wise property owner would relish. I still can’t understand, with all the people who can’t pay rent on time, can’t keep up with mortgage, just pay every day or monthly expenses as needed you’ve been doing it and making it work, but then here comes the greedy who if they have not offered you a renewal on your lease it’s their loss and you should not be scared to look beyond their rip off asses I’m quite sure there are other places just as good if not better in your price range and rental history that will take you in a heartbeat. Wilbur, like you said and I agreed $55.00 monthly increase is outrageous. With the economy so f—ed up when you get a tenant who is capable of paying a decent portion of what is expected don’t be a asshole and run them off by taking advantage or trying to get more then necessary . Once again I say their loss Don’t be scared there is something out there for you Go find it


  3. March 20, 2012 at 8:40 am, Mandy said:

    A rent increase being reasonable or not depends on the amount you’re paying. An annual increase of 3% to 5% is an industry standard. Anything more than that is unreasonable. If the $55 falls within 3% to 5% of the previous years monthly lease amount then it is reasonable. The rental market is not as competitive in the past because the number of people wanting to rent versus buy. It has to do with the housing market – lack of some people to qualify for mortgages, and the reluctance of others to buy because of lack of knowledge and/or misconceptions.

    If you’re unhappy with the cost, see if you can negotiate with them. If not, it’s your choice to move. Promove.com makes it easy to look at all of the properties in a given area of Atlanta or its suburbs. They’re easy to work with, set you up with photos and amenities and other information for each property in the budget and amenities range you give them as your requirements.


  4. January 30, 2013 at 9:40 am, frederick moving said:

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  5. April 08, 2013 at 12:08 am, Julie said:

    I have been a landlord of one property since June 2009. Only one tenant has resided since I moved out of the townhouse and rented it out. Last year the tenant had come to me reporting that the kitchen faucet had broken. They were willing to install it if I paid for the new faucet. The new faucet, over a course of about 6-8 months, leaked down into the cabinet and soaked into the hardwood flooring, causing damage to the floors such that part has to be pulled up and replaced.

    My question is: Since the tenants installed the faucet, which ultimately leaked and went unnoticed for so long to cause the floor damage – can I deduct for the repairs of the faucet and flooring from their security deposit?


  6. May 18, 2013 at 4:52 am, Dieter said:

    Julie, why did you decide to let the tenant install it? Part of being a landlord is knowing how to mitigate what could go wrong. Assuming that the leak was due to bad installation, was there anyway that the tenant could have spotted the leak before damage occurred.

    This is similar to the landlord who does his own work, causes the same leak and eventually has a bigger repair on his hands. It is regrettable, but nonetheless not the tenant’s responsibility unless you can prove that they were aware of the leak and didn’t report it. You have a duty to protect your investment by hiring a competent professional. It sadly may be an expensive lesson, but ultimately by giving permission to your tenants to install the faucet, saving $200 was pennywise but pound foolish.


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