Rental Basics in Oakland>Question Details

goldenrule11, Renter in Oakland, CA

What can a landlord charge a tenant for when the tenant moves out. The property has been rented for 14 years. Paint and drapes original.

Asked by goldenrule11, Oakland, CA Tue Jul 31, 2012

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Most landlords will perform upgrades to the unit once a long term renter leaves. This way they are making it more desirable to the next renter and can usually increase the rent. I agree with most of the other comments, as to giving the renter a chance to paint and clean. Most of the time the carpet will need to be replaced and the unit painted. This is usually an expense of the landlord in most states. If the property is left in complete disarray then the landlord will usually hold onto a portion of the security deposit to clean it up.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 15, 2012
Thanks for the information. I had the same thought - renovation, up the rent. It's in a desirable neighborhood and no, there was no willful damage, just long time living.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 5, 2012
I had a tenant for 14 years... who eventually became indigent so I helped him move out. Then I spent tens of thousands of my own dollars on a thorough renovation. Current market rent is paying me back nicely. Unless the tenant has done willful damage or is in arrears on the rent, the security deposit should be refunded in its entirety. The interest collected on that amount over 14 years should be sufficient compensation to the landlord... whose only loss is normal wear and tear which cannot legally be charged against the tenant. I usually expect to make a full refund upon the tenant moving out. It's nice to hold the money while the tenant has possession of the premises... but in such a seriously rent controlled market, turnover is a good thing because it helps keep the rent at market rate.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 5, 2012
We had a one year lease, then month to month for the rest of the time. Landlord is famous for nickle and diming former tenants out of their deposit.
Lease agreement cannot be found. Asked the landlord, who refused, so far, to copy the agreement.

Joe - Thanks for taking the time to get the details to answer the questions. Much appreciated!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
The owner should allow the tenant(s) the opportunity first to have the drapes and carpets cleaned. If not, at the very least provide the tenant(s) with an estimate of the cost prior to having the work performed However, to answer your question yes an owner can. Your lease agreement takes priority, do you have one? or are you renting on a verbal month to month agreement?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
Property was not sublet. Same people from beginning of 14 years, but one person moved out. (Family split).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
Thanks for your answers. I am the tenant, so I need to clarify.
The landlord already said that he is charging for cleaning the drapes - not new when we moved in - and for the carpet, which is more than 5 years old, but in good shape. I would consider both of those normal wear and tear. The drapes have not been damaged. The carpet is in pretty good shape, looks fairly new.
The place hasn't been painted since we moved in and the closets and kitchen cabinets are original to the apartment, so about 60 years old. The stove is relatively new and the fridge is about 7 or 8 years old. The tile floor in the bathroom is cracked, because it was not put in properly and the paint is disappearing on the bathroom cabinet.
Can he charge us for the carpet cleaning and drape cleaning? My guess is he is going to remodel, because that is his MO.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
Though the tenant has sublet the property for (14) years it is not a factor (unless the tenant was facing an eviction).

There should have been an inspection prior to leasing the property and if not, one should be conducted 10-14 days prior to moving to go over the condition of the property.

The owner must give the tenant an opportunity to cure anything noted in the walk thru.

An owner can not charge for "normal wear and tear" i.e. painting or drapes, unless there were missing blind in which case the owner can charge for replacements. However, it is up to the tenant to clean the carpet and drapes as they take on odors from smoke, cooking, dust etc......

In the end, the Rental Agreement should take precidence and spell out the terms and conditions of the cleaning deposit. However, no landlord is entitled to just "take" the tenants clean deposit.

Hopes this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
Not sure I actually understand the question. When a tenant moves out you can charge for repairs outside of normal wear and tear. You have a security deposit to pay for that and you have to give the moving out tenant his (or the rest of) deposit back within 21 days after move out day. Make sure you include the invoice for the repairs.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
Are you talking about getting a new tenant?
And are you on the list to rent only to Section 8? If so --- you should consult with the local agencies managing Section 8 rentals to find out what a fair price would be depending on the configuration of your rental unit.

If not required to rent only to Section 8, you can certainly try to charge the market value --- which again would depend on the improvements you may have made since the last tenant left. If your paint and drapes are unchanged....hoo's time to change them. You may be able to get a better rate if you make some basic improvements that mean new paint, new flooring, new window coverings.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
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