As a NYC property management company or landlord sometimes claiming a tenant’s security deposit is more work than actually releasing it. Many instances lead to lawsuits where the tenants feel that they are entitled for the release of the initial deposit. This can lead to wasted time by yourself or employees and monies lost for retaining a lawyer. So how do you avoid this situation? Communication has always been the major part of getting out of this jam. By communicating with your tenants during their tenancy it can save you time and money lost and hurt feelings at the end of the day. Below is some other ways to avoid claiming the security deposit at the end of the lease term.
The lease should be explicit on the responsibilities of all parties
Besides speaking to your tenant about expectations, the lease should clearly delineate the reponsibilites of all parties to the lease. I normally set up a section and write in bold what the expectations are. Doing this will avoid having problems in the future where there might be a disagreement of whether a certain function was the property management company or tenant’s resposibility. Nipping issues in the bud can save your money and time.
Always provide a move-in inspection with your new tenant
I have learned as a NYC property manager that move-in inspections are important. What started as just filling out a check-list has now turned into a more thorough inspection. With smartphones having the ability to capture photos and videos, I now can take pictures of the property as well as have in-depth videos if need be. By capturing the condition of the premises, it is easier proof should you need to bring in evidence in Court. It also can be a deterrance in legal action if you can show the pictures to your tenant and explain when the photos were taken. Sometimes their memory is foggy as well and it can definitely refresh their recollection.
As a property management company in NYC it can be a chore to make sure that all your managed units are in a great condition. It takes a dedicated staff of professionals to implement policies and enforce them to make sure that you are doing what is necessary to ensure that all of your units are in a favorable light. It is important to express to your tenants that you will do inspections of the premises at least every six months. By doing so, it will allow you to see if your tenants are taking care of the premises. It will also allow you to troubleshoot any issues that might arise in the future and remediate them.
Walk-through at the end of the lease term
It is your responsibility to do a walk-through of the premises at the end of the lease term. You should do the inspection using the same level of detail that you did during the initial inspection with your tenants. This should include both pictures and videos if necessary. Many times in the past we have used these pictures in Court in the event there is a legal case with reference to the security deposit. Having the tenants sign off on the report is also important as they will acknowledge the condition of the premises at the time of giving back possession.
Taking these steps will help you avoid many painful days in the future. By keeping detailed records it will only assist you in retaining the security deposit if necessary. However it is always best that your tenant’s expectations are clear to avoid this.
If you are in need of a NYC property management company than Blue Harbour Property Management is for you. We are an experienced full-service NYC building management company managing properties in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Call us at 718-843-1185 for a free consultation.