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St. Joseph Security Deposit Laws: What is Normal Wear and Tear?

Security deposit laws in Michigan and in our local area are very strict, and you need to be careful with them. Typically, the laws regarding security deposits are slanted in the tenant’s favor, if you decide to rent rather than sell.

If you are managing a St, Joseph property for a tenant who is moving in, we recommend that you either videotape the property or take a lot of detailed photos. You should also put together a description that documents the condition of the property. When you do this, you’ll have a record, with pictures, of what the property looked like before the tenant took possession of it. Then, when the tenant moves out, we recommend you do the same thing again. Take your pictures and make your notes. That way, you will have proof of what it looked like when the tenant vacated and you can compare the condition of the property at move in and move out.

The law requires you to return the security deposit within 30 days of the tenant moving out. If you don’t return the entire security deposit, you will need to provide an itemized list of what was withheld and why. It is crucial to pay attention to the deadline and not miss that 30 day mark. If you don’t contact the tenant with the list of charges or return the security deposit, the tenant will be automatically entitled to two times the amount of the security deposit. You don’t want to pay that, so make sure you don’t miss those 30 days.

It is the tenant’s responsibility to provide you with a forwarding address so you can return the security deposit. If the tenant doesn’t do that, you are not required to return the security deposit. However, as property managers like to be extra cautious and we try to be proactive. We will get their forwarding address even if they forget to give it to us. Security deposit laws are not anything you want to mess up, so make sure everything is done correctly.

If you’re not sure how to manage the return of your tenant’s security deposit, or you have any other questions, please contact us at Real Property Management Southwest Michigan, and we’d be happy to help you.

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