Security Deposit Disposition Advice from a Professional Property Manager

By December 23, 2015Property Management

Disputes over security deposits are the most common types of disagreements that landlords and tenants have. There are a few things you can do to avoid any such tension when a tenant moves out and you determine how much of the security deposit to return.


Conducting a move in and a move out inspection is critical. This will allow you to compare the condition of the property before a tenant moved in to the condition of the property after a tenant lived there. Make sure you have pictures, videos and other documentation so you can support your claims of tenant damage. You cannot charge for wear and tear, and you need to make sure that you are withholding a reasonable amount from the security deposit. For example, you cannot charge the tenants $25 for a scuff mark on the wall.

Move Out Procedures

At the time your tenant signs the lease, provide a written list of things that need to be done. You can remind the tenant about these written procedures again when you receive their notice to vacate. When a tenant is informed, there can be no disputes over what you have clearly stated is required in order to receive their full security deposit.


It’s very important to have your tenant’s forwarding address so you can send the security deposit to the right place. You have 30 days from the move out date to return the security deposit and a letter that itemizes all the charges that were made. If the tenant wants to dispute something, invite them to do so in writing and ask for proof that you are incorrect about the charges. The check you send must be made out to all the tenants who are listed on the lease. You don’t need to include occupants who Security Deposit Disposition Advice from a Professional Property Managerare not on the lease.

You don’t want to find yourself in court over a security deposit dispute or because you didn’t get the money back to the tenant within 30 days. Be thorough with your inspections and documentation, and keep the lines of communication open with your tenant.

If you have any questions about how to handle security deposits, please contact us at Your Dream Real Estate, and we’d be happy to help you.