Raiding deposit raises legal issue

Rent it Right

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Q: When my tenant moved out, he left rugs that were badly stained. Although I could have had them cleaned professionally, I decided after my tenant left to pull them up and refinish the hardwood floor beneath. In fact, I gave the unit an overall facelift, so that I can charge more rent, and I would have taken the rugs up even if they had been left in a clean condition. My tenant doesn't dispute that the rugs were dirty, but says that because I didn't actually clean them, I shouldn't be allowed to deduct from his deposit an expense I never incurred. Who's right? --Mary M. A: Yours is a question that would warm the hearts of law professors everywhere. Like many issues in the law, there's no simple, applies-everywhere answer. But here are the basics. We would first need to take a look at your state's security deposit statute. Some statutes simply tell landlords that they can use the deposit only for unpaid rent and damage beyond normal wear and tear. Some go further, and spec...