Can I use my security deposit as last month’s rent? If not, how do I get my deposit back and when should I expect it?
No, your security deposit is not to be used as last month’s rent, regardless if you ask it to be in writing. Your security deposit is to hold tenants responsible for the terms of their rental contract. We generally charge a security deposit based on a few hundred more than the rent.
For example, if the rent is $1000.00 per month, we charge a security deposit of $1200.00. We recommend that tenants complete the move in / move out inspection form and take many photos and/or videos to document the condition of the home. Once the tenant moves out, we have 31 days after the return of the keys to get the deposit refunded and / or an itemized statement. If there were roommates on the lease, we will write the deposit refund (if applicable) in all occupants’ names.
What happens if the management changes during my tenancy?
Both the tenants and the new landlord must follow the original lease agreement. The previous landlord is to send the security deposit, less any deductions to the new landlord, who is responsible to return any deposits when the tenants move even if he or she did not get the deposit money from the old landlord.
Please note that landlords can deduct unpaid late fees from the tenant’s security deposit. We send our tenants a letter stating that we are no longer managing such a residence, as well as advise where and to whom we send the tenants’ security deposit to as good practice.
Can I break my lease if I am a victim of domestic violence?
Yes, you can. However, you must give your landlord 14 days written notice and it must include verification that you are a victim of domestic violence, which occurred within the last 90 days. Verification can be a signed restraining order by a judge, police report, or a statement by a law enforcement officer.
Can I break my lease because I have to relocate or found another place?
No, you are still subject for the rent until the place has been re-rented by another qualified tenant. When our tenants want to break their lease, we advise them that we will advertise. However, they need to assist on showing their unit as much as possible since they are on the hook until it is re-rented. However, it is illegal to collect rent twice.
So, if a tenant pays the full rent for a month and moves halfway through that month and a new tenant moves in, we do have to reimburse the old tenant half of the rent. Our tenants are subject to a non-compliance fee of $500.00 for breaking the lease and must have the home in rent ready condition, including getting new drip pans and the carpets professionally cleaned by a truck-mounted steam cleaner.
What if I lock myself out of my house?
This often happens and it is the tenant’s responsibility to get back in their house. We have had tenants break a window to get in. However, the tenant is responsible for repairing the window. If we are in the area, we will unlock the door. However, if it is after hours, we suggest that tenants call a local locksmith at their expense.
Do I have to carry renters insurance?
The new law states that the landlord can require tenants to carry renters insurance and must disclose the renter’s insurance requirements prior to the beginning of the tenancy. It must be disclosed during the application screening and in the rental agreement.
For our existing tenants, we do have to give our tenants a 30-day notice for change of terms, and if the existing tenant does not purchase renters insurance, we can evict “for cause.” However, the tenant can remedy the cause by purchasing renters insurance and providing proof of insurance to the landlord.
What happens if the house I am renting is in foreclosure and I am in a lease?
Effective January 1st, 2014, when a property is in foreclosure, a tenant can give a 60-day notice to terminate the lease without any early termination fees. If the landlord does not provide proof that the home is not in foreclosure within 30 days of receiving the termination notice, the lease can be terminated by the tenant. A tenant can request to use their security deposit as last month’s rent in these cases.