My tenant of 3 years moved out two weeks ago and has been hounding me to repay her deposit. The problem is, I went to check on the property a few days after she moved out and found it in a state! Between my gardening costs, cleaning costs and handyman expenses I’ve had to outlay more than the amount of the deposit to get the property ready for a new tenant. How do I tell her she’s not getting her deposit back?
Well, here’s the thing. You mentioned that you only checked on the property a few days after she moved out. The Rental Housing Act requires a landlord to conduct a joint inspection of the property with the tenant at the end of the lease. The fact that you didn’t do this means that the property is deemed to be undamaged as at termination of the lease. And this means that you are required to repay the deposit to the tenant. If a landlord wants to retain some or all of the tenant’s deposit to pay for damages, the landlord has to ensure that this joint property inspection is done.
Having said that, if you tried to arrange an inspection and the tenant failed to respond to your requests, you may be able to retain the deposit. It’s recommended that you consult with an attorney to ascertain what your rights are in this regard.