Preparing for security deposit refunds starts before a tenant even moves into your property.
It’s important to screen tenants as strictly as you can. Make sure they can pay rent, and check to be sure they earn three times the amount of rent, or whatever your criteria is. Check credit and criminal backgrounds, and once approved, go through the leasing and move in process with your tenants. This is where you begin to prepare for security deposit returns.
Property Management Albuquerque: Move-In Reports
Do a thorough move-in report. It will be your saving grace when your tenant moves out. It should be a detailed and itemized form stating the condition of the property before the tenant moved in. Then, you can use the same report when the tenant moves out. Notate everything, even cosmetic issues. When your tenant moves out, you have a good guide. It minimizes any disputes as you’re going through the house to do your move-out inspection.
Tenants will often insist that the house is cleaner when they move out than when they moved in. With a good move-in report, you can document and have them sign off on the move-in inspection.
Property Management Albuquerque: Tenant Input
One practice we use here is to have an agent inspect the property before the move-in. They will complete the whole form and fill everything out. When the tenants pick up the keys, they get a copy of the property condition or move-in inspection report. We provide a back page that allows them to add anything they want to the report. It empowers them to feel confident that they have covered their bases, and you have covered yours.
Property Management Albuquerque: Move-Out Procedures
After all this, the process goes smoother at the end. You can charge the deposit for any damages minus normal wear and tear. Make sure you can document with receipts everything that you take from the tenant’s deposit. You have 30 days to process the deposit from the time of move-out to the time that you mail it. Then, the tenants have 30 days to appeal or dispute any of the charges.
It’s important to have all your ducks in a row. Be comfortable with your process. You want to be able to easily explain things to a tenant if there is a dispute. And, you’re on solid ground if you have photos and documentation to back up your claims.