Property Management Blog

What If the Security Deposit Doesn’t Cover the Columbus Property Damage Costs?

Mitch Deminski - Friday, January 14, 2022

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A bad tenant is a nightmare for any owner, and it is a relief to see their lease term end. In a city like Columbus where a huge population lives in rental homes, your likelihood of ending up with a bad tenant increases significantly.

We are referring to a circumstance where the tenant has damaged your Columbus rental property and the damages exceed the security deposit. The security or rent deposit acts as a buffer for any damages caused during the tenancy. When the cost of damage & repair exceeds the deposit, landlords find themselves in deep trouble. Here is how you can tackle such instances.

Regular inspections

As a landlord, you should carry out regular visits to assess the condition of your property. If you come across any damage, you must document or photograph it. In cases where you pay for the repairs, maintain the invoice of each payment diligently.

Such expenses often sum up to hundreds of dollars over the years. The evidence you collect can help you in incurring the expenditure from the tenants in the future.

Itemize move-out charges from security deposit

Similar to regular inspection, a move-out inspection would require you to document all the damages to the property. A list of the damages along with their expenses will give you an idea of whether the security deposit would cover it or not.

Issue a Demand Letter

Once you list out the expenses, you will know if there is any outstanding payment. As a landlord, you will have to send a demand letter to your tenant that specifies the purpose of issuing such a letter. It must also mention the duration within which the tenant has to pay the money. Usually, this period is 30 days.

Claims Court

After 30 days, if the tenant fails to pay you back, you can consider moving to a small claims court for settlement. The claims court incurs a fee that ranges from $30-100. If the outstanding payment is less than a hundred dollars, it is advisable to end the matter, since you might be required to pay the same amount as the court charges.

While such complex situations are unforeseen, you can take all the necessary precautions before-hand in order to avoid conflicts. Making a comprehensive lease agreement that has detailed specifications of every possible instance will save you from exhaustion.

Also, regular inspections and immediate collection of proof in writing or as a photograph helps in keeping things transparent. You must also alert the next landlord about the behavior of this particular tenant. This will make them more cautious, and lead them to take all the preventive measures in the first place.

Demand letterTo avail expert services, and professional property management, connect with us at Solutions for Real Estate (S4RE). Solutions for Real Estate can be your trusted real estate and property management partner. In business since 2001, S4RE has been a leading independent brokerage in central Ohio for residential, commercial and property management. Contact us to discuss your real estate needs.