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    Minimize Disputes over the Security Deposit

    Almost all rental agreements will require a security deposit payment to be paid by the tenant on gaining access to the property. The purpose of a security deposit is to protect the landlord’s property from any destruction done to the property outside of the regular wear and tear. Security deposits are meant to be held in trust by the landlord until the tenant is vacating the property and at the time of inspection the funds will either be returned to the tenant or with-held by the landlord to repair any damages done.  Often this can be a point of conflict between both the landlord and tenant.

    One of the best ways to reduce the amount of conflict surround the return of the security deposit is to do an inventory check list with both the landlord and tenant on the date of procession and the date of vacancy.  What exactly is an inventory check list when it comes to a rental agreement?

    An inventory checklist is an overview of the property’s different rooms and the condition of the different components contained within the rooms. It goes beyond just the walls and floor in each room, and looks at the lighting fixtures, window coverings, electrical outlets and any specifics for the room type such as appliances, plumbing and closets.  The use of an inventory check list means that nothing will be missed during the initial inspection and the tenant will not be left on the line for damage they did not inflict.

    To get the most out of the inventory check list, the list must be completed by both the landlord and the tenant together on that move in date, or within 72 hours of the move in date. Both parties should keep a signed copy at completion and hold onto it until the property is vacated. The inventory list should be used at each inspection, even if the tenant is not vacating at the time.  This means that when the final inspection does happen there is an agreed upon record by both parties and therefore fewer arguments over what damage the tenant is responsible for and what their security deposit will be used to fix.

    Also, since most of us nowadays have smart phones with built in cameras, it’s smart to take photos to document any damages already existing within the property. This can provided a definite record of the condition of the rental property. It would be wise to make sure that both parties have copies of the photos taken and that they are saved until after vacancy.

    We have attached an Inventory check-list that we encourage both landlord and tenants to use.  However, it is just a guide and should be customised for the specifics of the rental property.

    Get the checklist HERE

    Landlords and Tenant: To find out more about security deposits and the maximum amount that can be requested, consult your local state or provincial tenancy act as this does varies from state to state and province to province.

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