When we talk about normal wear and tear in Sacramento rental properties, we are really talking about how you handle the security deposit. Wear and tear affects how much you keep and return from the deposit that was paid to you. It’s usually an elephant in the room for landlords and property owners. You need to understand what you can and cannot charge for, otherwise you can find yourself in court.
Documenting Property Condition
First and foremost, you should do a complete walk through before the tenant moves in. You want your tenants to sign and agree to the condition of the property when they take possession. The laws in California are specific about how you handle the security deposit. If you charge the deposit for something that you don’t have the right to charge them for because it qualifies as normal wear and tear, the tenant can sue you. If the judge agrees with the tenant, you will have to return the security deposit times three. That’s expensive for you, and one of the reasons you must understand what wear and tear is and how to document it.
Taking Clear Photographs
Make sure your documentation is in absolute order. Take a full set of digital photos of the property’s interior and exterior. Complete a written document that explains how old the appliances are and the age of the floor. It should describe the home’s basic condition, and the photos can be used to prove what your condition report states. Take pictures of everything.
Length of Tenancy
There will be more wear and tear for every year your tenant lives in the property. When you have a tenant for one year only, there shouldn’t be a lot of wear and tear and you can reasonably expect that the property will be returned to you in the same condition. After three years, you might have a substantial amount of wear and tear. This three-year mark is important in California law and has a lot to do with what you cannot charge from your tenant’s security deposit.
If you have any questions about wear and tear or you need a little more information about what you can and cannot charge from a security deposit, we’d love to help you. Please contact us at Alpha Property Management.