Before you sign a lease and pay any money always view the property in person. Pictures are great but may not reflect the most current condition of the home. When you sign a lease you are agreeing to rent a property in its current condition, make sure you know what that condition is. After you sign a lease it’s to late to negotiate repairs, cleaning or upgrading as a condition of your lease and if you decide not to move in all monies paid are lost. The landlord does not have to refund your money because you changed you mind.
Before you move into a rented Home or Apartment, be sure to do a walk through with the owner or property manager. Why? Because when you move out, the landlord may attempt to charge you for “damages” to the unit. What defines damages is often contested and the tenant, unless they have a move-in-checklist and pictures, may lose out in court.
General rule of thumb – are you leaving the unit in the same condition as when you moved in? Again take pictures and have the landlord or property manager agree to the condition. Same when you leave.
A landlord can only withhold for damages only amounts that are deemed reasonable for the damage claimed. If a defect existed before you moved in, you should not be charged for that particular problem. The importance of pictures and a move-in checklist cannot be stressed enough.
Normal Wear and Tear is vague term and means different things to different people. So protect yourself.
Take pictures – use a disposable or video camera. Pictures are worth a thousand words and therefore, dollars. Sign and date the pictures and save them in case your landlord does not return your security deposit.
The average cost to clean an average apartment is $135 for the full job. If you do not have time, consider hiring a cleaning service.
Normal Wear and Tear may include things such as faded paint – you yourself did not cause the paint to fade, thus you would not be responsible if and when the landlord decides to repaint.
Damages are actual things in the apartment that you or your guests actually break – such as a window or a hole in the wall.
One common method of calculating the deduction for replacement prorates the total cost of replacement so that the tenant pays only for the remaining useful life of the item that the tenant has damaged or destroyed.
For example, suppose a tenant has damaged beyond repair an 8 old carpet that had a life expectancy of ten years, and that a replacement carpet of similar quality would cost $1,000. The landlord could properly charge only $200 for the two years’ worth of life (use) that would have remained if the tenant had not damaged the carpet.