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Retrieving Your Security Deposit


Several months ago, we had to retrieve three security deposits from clients' past landlords. Landlords seem to love to keep money for such things as:


  1. General cleanup.

  2. Specific damages.

  3. Replacement of items.


Don't let them—you are responsible for specific damages "beyond reasonable wear and tear." Your broker can meet with the landlord and create a punch list of items he wants you to repair that meet those criteria. Since your broker has done this many times before, he can hold the line firmly with the landlord.


In one of these cases, the landlord wanted to hold almost half of a $15,000.00 deposit. We spent over two months going back and forth until we recovered over $13,500.00. The landlord wanted to charge the tenant for things like wall replacement, electrical wiring, repainting and re-carpeting the premises, and more. (Some of those things could have been the tenant's responsibility if they hadn't been protected in the lease—another reason for getting a good broker).


The tenant spent about one hour of his time over the two months mired in this process. Add that to the actual savings.


Also, remember, in most states, a commercial property security deposit is not last month's rent. If you decide not to pay the last month, even though the security deposit is equal to that amount, you can find yourself in both legal and financial trouble.



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