What Should And Should Not Be With Held From a Deposit

This can be a tricky subject but here is a list of things that should never be with held from a deposit.

  1. Yard Rehabilitation-A tenant moves out and your wonderful green grass is now dead. Unfortunately there are too many variables that put you at risk of a deposit dispute. Colorado is a desert climate, vegetation does not grow without human intervention in many areas. Yards are like anything else in your home. They have a serviceable life and once that’s exceeded you cannot collect money to repair or replace without risking litigation. Make your yard as maintenance free as possible. If a tenant does not complete a final mowing, trimming, weed pulling at time of move out this could be a legitimate charge.
  2. Anything that has exceeded it’s serviceable life- Carpet is good for 5 to 7 years, if you have gotten longer than that, consider yourself lucky but don’t plan on charging the tenants if it’s damaged at move out. Even if you went to court and won the case the magistrate may very likely award you a pro rated amount based on it’s serviceable life. In this case it would be zero dollars since the carpet exceeded it’s serviceable life.
  3. Anything that is not documented on the move in inspection- If you failed to document any part of the home and it’s damaged now, chalk it up as a learning experience. If you go to court you will lose. Refund the money, kick yourself in the pants, and do a more thorough job next time.
  4. Anything that is not outlined as a cost in the lease packet- If you have not made a detailed lists of costs for repairs it’s very difficult to enforce. Include this form in the lease packet at move in and have the tenants sign it.
  5. Ordinary wear and tear- Per Colorado State Law, ordinary wear and tear is allowable by law and cannot be charged back to the tenants. Flooring, paint, windows, etc. Scuffs, nail holes, fraying carpet by thresholds, are all considered ordinary wear and tear.

This obviously is not an all inclusive list and there are limited circumstances where some of these may not be applicable but use this as a rule of thumb on your next disposition.