Security Deposits & How They Work | Specialized Property Management Dallas Tenant Tips

If you’re preparing to move out of your Dallas rental property, we know that you have a lot on your mind and a long list of to-do items. At Specialized Property Management, we hope you have enjoyed your stay in one of our properties.

Now that it’s time to move on, you might have questions about your security deposit. We want you to be prepared for the move-out process, and we want you to understand how the return of your security deposit works. There are laws and guidelines that we must follow, and you can help yourself get more of your deposit back faster by following our instructions and meeting our expectations.

The Purpose of a Security Deposit in Dallas

As you may recall, you paid a security deposit before you moved in, as part of the leasing process. If applicable, an additional deposit was collected for each pet. These deposits are fully refundable at the time you move out of the property. However, we hold them in escrow during the lease term to cover any damages to the property. Your lease will outline how much money was collected in security deposits before you moved into the property. None of those funds are spent during the course of the tenancy.

Property Damage and Wear and Tear

Before we return any or all of the security deposit to you, we need to assess any damage that you’re leaving behind. Damages are more serious than what’s considered normal wear and tear at the property. Wear and tear is expected, and you won’t be financially responsible for it. However, you will be required to pay for any damage that was caused to the home while you occupied it.

As outlined in the Association of Realtors lease agreement that you signed, normal wear and tear is defined as:

Deterioration that occurs without negligence, carelessness, accident or abuse.

During your move-in process, you were given an Inventory and Condition Form to document the property condition at the start of your lease. Photos were required to support any items that you noted on the form. Our office references this form and the photos during the move-out process so we can compare the condition of the property then and now, and so we can see any changes in the condition of the home. Your move-in condition form is used as we complete an independent move-out assessment.

This assessment is done without the resident or owner present to ensure we gather an unbiased report.

Completing the Deposit Itemization Form

Once the assessment is complete, we list on the Deposit Itemization Form any damages to the property above normal wear and tear. These are things you will be responsible for, as the tenant who was living in the property when the damage occurred. We also use this form to indicate whether there are any additional tenant financial obligations that will be deducted from the security deposit.

These financial obligations may include things such as:

  • Unpaid balances on your rental account.
  • The cost of keys or remotes that have not been returned.
  • Accelerated rent if this move-out is a case in which the lease was breached.
  • The cost to remove any personal belongings from the property.

Any other financial costs that are subject to security deposit reduction will be included. We know you want to get your full security deposit back. In order to ensure you receive a full refund, you must meet all the move-out requirements that are listed in your lease.

Move-Out Instructions in Your Lease Agreement

The lease requirements can be found in your lease, and they are including but not limited to the following:

  1. Provide a 30 day written notice in advance that you’ll be moving out. It’s important that you give proper notice so we can begin preparing for your departure while marketing the home to find new tenants.
  2. Leave the property move-in ready. We want to see a home that’s fully prepare to be occupied by the next resident, aside from normal wear and tear.
  3. You’ll need to have the carpets professionally cleaned. Once you schedule and pay for the cleaning, submit a receipt to our office so we can document that you’ve met this requirement.
  4. Make sure you completely vacate the property. It’s important that you clear the home of any personal items. This includes trash as well as unwanted belongings. Don’t leave behind a sofa or a television that you don’t want to move. Remember that any personal belongings left behind will become the property of the landlord. Those things will either be thrown out, donated, or sold. You’ll also be charged for the cost of removing those things from the property.
  5. Sufficiently clean the property. This includes the appliances, bathrooms, kitchens, window sills, and other specifics. The home should look just as clean as it was when you moved in.
  6. Take a look at anything that needs to be replaced. If any light bulbs are burned out, install new ones. Throw away and replace any dirty air conditioning filters as well.
  7. If you painted the walls without prior authorization, you’ll need to return them to the original color and paint quality that they were when you moved in. Make sure you buy and use the right paint, and contact us if you aren’t sure which paint you should be using.
  8. Return any keys, remote controls, garage door openers, or other devices to the office when you’re ready to move out. When you drop these things off, we’ll ask for your forwarding address. It’s important that you leave us with a way to reach you, otherwise it will take longer for you to receive your security deposit back.

Security Deposit Timelines and Requirements

security depositThe Texas state property code dictates when and how security deposits are to be returned to tenants. The main requirement is that your security deposit payment be sent to all tenants that are listed on the lease. We’re also required to return those deposits within 30 days of your move-out date. At Specialized Property Management, we do our best to complete the process prior to the 30-day timeline. We know you’re anxious to get your money back, especially if you’re moving into a new home and budgeting for the expenses that come with it.

Sometimes, the amount we need to deduct is higher than the amount you paid in security and pet deposits. If deductions exceed the amount of the security deposit being held, you will have 10 days from the day of the deposit itemization to pay the balance. If that balance is not paid within that timeframe, and you don’t talk to us about a payment arrangement to pay off the debt, the amount due could be turned over to a collection agency for further collection efforts. This can be avoided with careful care of the property and open communication with your property manager.

Sometimes, you’ll move in with a pet and that pet will not be with you for the duration of the lease period. Many tenants in this situation ask for the return of their pet deposit before the lease ends. This is not something we can do. Even if your pet no longer resides in the property, we cannot return the pet deposit mid-lease. However, you will get that pet deposit back as long as there isn’t any pet damage found at the home. We will include the pet deposit funds in the Security Deposit Itemization and Move Out forms.

Another thing we run into is tenants hoping to use their security deposit to cover the last month of rent. This is not permitted, and you must make a rental payment the last month of your lease. If you don’t pay the rent that last month and you expect us to use your security deposit to cover the amount that’s owed, it will be considered a lease breach. With this breach of your lease agreement, other charges might apply as outlined in your rental agreement. Don’t let this occur. Your security deposit is never meant to pay for rent, so make sure you make your final payment just like you’ve made all of your other rental payments.

We wish you the best in the future, and we’re glad you spent some time renting one of our homes. If we can ever help you or someone you know find a rental property in the Dallas area, we hope you’ll think of us. Our goal is to make the rental process as easy and enjoyable as possible for everyone – from tenants to landlords. We’re always happy to hear feedback about the experience that tenants had with us, so be sure to let us know what you liked best about living in your rental property.

If you have any questions about how to handle the move-out process or what you can expect from your security deposit itemization, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Specialized Property Management in Dallas.