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How do I determine security deposit charges for paint?

How do I determine security deposit charges for paint?

Security deposit charges related to paint often spark disputes and misunderstandings between tenants and property owners. At Cissell Management Co., we prioritize fairness and transparency regarding security deposit charges. Our goal is to ensure that residents are not held accountable for normal wear and tear while also protecting property owners from damages caused by residents.

It's important to emphasize that charges to the resident's security deposit are not intended to be punitive; rather, they reflect the actual costs incurred to address issues beyond normal wear and tear. Additionally, property owners should recognize that certain maintenance costs, such as painting, are necessary when owning a rental property.

So, what responsibilities fall on the resident?

We do not expect residents to return the property with walls in the exact condition as when they moved in. Minor scuffs and the use of picture hangers are considered reasonable wear and tear, as permitted by law. However, any actual damage to the walls will result in charges. It's worth noting that if damage occurs on a specific wall, we only charge for that wall, not the entire room.

Examples of wall damage include:

  • Holes in the wall
  • Excessive nail holes
  • Large wall anchors
  • Spills on the wall
  • Smoke stains from candles
  • Excessive scuffing
  • Footprints
  • Excessive dirt
  • Excessive dirt from pets
  • Water stains running down bathroom walls due to failure to use the vent fan after showering
  • Unapproved painted walls (we do not permit residents to paint)

How are charges calculated?

According to HUD guidelines, a paint job on a rental property should last three years. For example, if we painted the house entirely before the resident moved in, and they moved out after one year, requiring us to spend $900 on repainting due to damage, the property owner would have had two remaining years of use from that paint job. Therefore, the resident would be responsible for the remaining two years of the useful life of the paint. We divide the cost to repaint ($900) by three, resulting in $300 per year. The resident would be responsible for $600, not the entire cost, as the owner benefited from the first year of the paint job while the resident lived there.

We hope this explanation sheds light on how paint charges are handled, enabling our residents and clients to understand better what to expect regarding paint-related matters.