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Security deposits and landlord-tenant disagreements over damage

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2022 | Real Estate

For many Kentucky landlords, a security deposit is required for tenants to rent the property. This is a protective device in case there are issues with the tenant’s behavior in causing damage or they do not pay their rent for the duration of the contract.

While most landlord-tenant agreements proceed smoothly, there can be disputes and a refusal to return the security deposit. If this is due to damage in the rental, it is important to understand how the law addresses this from the perspective of the owner and the renter.

What happens if there is a dispute over property condition?

Rental properties will be in a certain condition when the renter moves in. When the agreement is made, it is imperative to be aware of the entire condition of the property and if there are underlying issues for which the tenant can be blamed when they leave. The owner must know of these problems. It can be difficult to know when damage came about, such as a leak or breakage that the tenant might or might not be responsible for if there was not a full accounting of the condition beforehand.

Once the tenant is leaving the rental, the landlord will conduct an inspection and look for damage. If, for example, there is a problem with the toilet that needs to be repaired and it was the renter’s fault, that can be deducted from the security deposit before it is returned. There must be an estimated cost for the repair.

The landlord will present a list of the damages. If the tenant agrees, they will sign it. If they disagree, they will not and will sign a statement dissenting to the assessed damage. The tenant also has the right to conduct an inspection to check the accuracy of the damage and its cost for repair. Tenants who disagree with the damage assessment can file a case in District Court. The case cannot go beyond the items that were said to be damaged. Failure to dissent or to sign the listing will mean the tenant cannot recover damages.

Landlords and tenants both need professional help with security deposit disputes

In cases where there is significant damage to a property or there is minor damage, it is important for the landlord and tenant to be fully aware of the law. It is possible that the sides can negotiate and come to an amicable resolution. If not, they could need judicial intervention. Regardless of the circumstances, it is wise to have experienced help that has a history of handling claims related to real estate law.