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Wear and Tear vs. Damages

Wear and Tear vs Damages

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Have you ever wondered how normal wear and tear is determined in a rental home?

In Texas, a landlord cannot deduct for normal wear and tear from a security deposit and in some situations, such as for carpet and paint, a depreciation schedule must be followed.

Although this is not a compressive list, below are examples of what items are considered normal wear and tear and are typically the responsibility of the investment property owner compared to what items are considered damages by tenants.

Wear and Tear

Damages

Peeling, cracked, or chipped paint*
Drawing or excessive hand prints on walls
Paint faded or furniture rub marks*
Stains on walls
Picture hook/nail holes
Excessive nail holes “shrine” effect
Peeling wallpaper
Torn wallpaper
Worn enamel in bath fixtures
Chipped, broken, or cigarette burns on enamel
Worn or cracked vinyl flooring
Torn or gouge marks from moving appliances
Heavily trafficked carpet flooring*
Severe stains, burns, or torn carpet
Weathered or worn window screens
Holes, broken or missing screens
Sliding doors off track or stick
Missing knobs, tracks dirty or broken doors
Counter tops worn or scratched
Cigarette burn marks, chips or missing pieces
Towels bars, tissue holders loose
Towel bars, tissue holders missing or damaged
Caulking around plumbing fixtures
Excessive mold or mildew on caulked areas
Light fixtures/fans off balance
Light fixture globes or parts missing
Septic field lines
Non-flushable products being disposed of
Smoke detector batteries
Removal, low or missing batteries in detectors
HVAC maintenance and servicing
Neglect of HVAC filter replacement
Door stops
Broken, missing door stops-holes in walls
Discolored window blinds
Broken or missing slats in mini blinds
Heating elements or oven racks
Dirty or missing drip pans
Worn parts or servicing of refrigerator
Missing racks, broken shelving, filth, odors

 

 

 * Repainting due to tenant damage is calculated on a depreciation schedule
*Carpet replacement due to tenant damage can only be calculated on replacement cost less depreciation.
 

 

Click here to learn how we handle repairs

 

 

 

Landlords are required to install security devices in rental properties

Landlords are required to install security devices in rental properties

Texas law requires that most rental properties have certain security devices in place on the windows and exterior doors while a tenant is occupying the property under a lease.

Make sure that …

  • Each exterior window has a window latch;
  • Each exterior sliding glass door has a pin lock, and a handle latch or security bar; and
  • Each exterior door-including a door between a living area and a garage, but not a sliding glass door or screen door-has three things:
    • a doorknob lock or keyed deadbolt;
    • a keyless bolting device; and
    • a door viewer.

These devices must be installed at your expense before you have a tenant.

 

The best resource for pricing your home

The best resource for pricing your home

You’re ready to sell your home, but you’re not sure what to ask for it. No problem … a neighbor just sold her home for $329,000, so you’ll just ask for the same amount. Wait. That was what she asked for her home. You’re not sure what it actually sold for. Oh, hey! Didn’t your coworker sell his home for $275,000 a few months ago? That’s solid information. Maybe you should ask for that. If the market hasn’t changed much since then. Sure, the coworker’s house isn’t in your neighborhood, but it has the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms as your home. Or maybe you should go with the asking price to the neighbor’s house. She probably sold it for close to that number. The house isn’t as nice as yours, but it’s a little larger. And it has beautiful landscaping. That adds some value, but how much? Putting those two homes aside for a bit, you go to a website that promises to tell you what your home is really worth. An actual number. Now you’re getting somewhere … if the value isn’t off by the 20% margin of error you read about in the site’s disclaimer. If only there was a way to process all this … pull in more data … make sure it’s accurate … account for differences in the properties … factor in what’s going on with real estate prices in your neighborhood. If you could just find some to do all that, analyze it, and guide you toward the highest price that will actually get an offer. Sounds to me like you’re ready to work with a Texas REALTOR®. –

See more at: https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-consumers/article/the-best-resource-for-pricing-your-home#sthash.AuiPslJa.dpuf

Sellers, here’s what buyers really think about your home

Sellers, here’s what buyers really think about your home

Have you ever wondered what a potential homebuyer thinks when she visits your house? Here are a few questions that came to my mind when I was searching for my first home. What’s that smell? I never realized how sensitive I am to smells until I saw eight houses in one day. The pet smells, air fresheners, mildew, and fresh-paint odors left me with a pounding headache. Some people love the smell of cinnamon apples and others might not, but get some help from your Texas REALTOR® to figure out a way to create a more neutral smelling experience. That might mean opening a few windows before a showing or temporarily moving the litter box. Will that dog bite us? As a pet owner, I know I can’t always take my dog or cat with me wherever I go. If you can take your pets with you when a buyer comes for a viewing, though, it can make for a much better home-tour experience. Why? Some people might be afraid of your pet. Other times, your pet can be a distraction. It’s hard to concentrate when a barking dog accompanies you on your property tour. Where would I put my stuff? It’s true what they say: buyers have a hard time looking past excessive clutter. When that spacious closet you’re trying to sell  is packed full, I can’t tell how spacious it truly is. And navigating through your kids’ toy maze is just as annoying for me as it is for you. It’s hard to please every potential homebuyer who will walk through your door, but there are a few simple ways to make your home a little more inviting so your house isn’t known as “the one with the cat smell” or “the one with the toy booby trap.” Talk to your Texas REALTOR® and be open to his advice about preparing your home for sale. He’ll know what attracts homebuyers to a property, and he’s on your side to get it sold. – See more at: https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-consumers/article/sellers-heres-what-buyers-really-think-about-your-home#sthash.GZ0q2pi8.dpuf

Replace the carpet?

Does a landlord have to replace the carpet?

Question: The tenant for a property I manage has asked the landlord to replace the carpet in one room because she says it looks worn and needs repair. Does the landlord have to fulfill this request?

Answer: No. Neither the Texas Property Code nor the Texas Association of REALTORS® Residential Lease would require a landlord to replace or repair something like this.

While Paragraph 18D(1) of the TAR Residential Lease states that the “landlord will pay to repair or remedy conditions in the property in need of repair if the tenant complies with the procedures for requesting repairs,” this does not mean that the landlord has the obligation to make every requested repair. Paragraph 18D(2) of the TAR Residential Lease states that a landlord will not pay to repair “items that are cosmetic in nature with no impact on the functionality or use of the item,” and a landlord could argue that worn carpet falls under this category. Additionally, Paragraph 18C(1) the TAR Residential Leasestates that all decisions regarding repair will be at the landlord’s sole discretion.

For more information on how Leasing Texas handles repairs, click here

Leasing Texas Qualifying Criteria

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Thank you for your interest in one of our properties and taking the time to read Leasing Texas qualifying criteria

Although the landlord is ultimately the one making the decision to approve your application, below is a list of the Leasing Texas general criteria in which the landlord may base their decision.

Application fee:
The application fee, as outlined in the listing, must be paid online at the time your application is submitted. Failure to pay the application fee will result in automatic decline. The application fee is non-refundable once submitted.

Tenant Selection Criteria:

1. Rental History:
Two years of residency history must be provided in order to process your application. If you rented, Landlord contact information must be filled out.
2. Employment History:
Two years of consecutive employment history must be submitted along with proof of income of at least 3x the amount of rent. If you do not have employment history, please provide proof of income via bank statements, retirement or social security statements.
3. Property Condition:
You are accepting the property in an as-is condition. Requests for changes to the property must be submitted in writing with the application.
4. Deposits:
Applicant must submit security deposit either via payment online or in certified funds (checks will not be accepted for security deposits) and signed lease within 48 hours of acceptance of application. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of the application. If owner permits a pet, a pet deposit must be paid on or before move in.
5. Photo ID:
All persons 18 or older must submit a copy of their driver’s license or other approved photo ID with the application.
6. Credit:
A credit report must be processed for each applicant 18 years or older
7. Criminal:
A criminal background check will be processed for each applicant 18 years or older.

Foreclosure
Double security deposit

Dismissed Bankruptcy within last 4 years
Double security deposit

Broken lease, past eviction or negative rental history
Double security deposit

More than 50% negative credit
Double security deposit

50% negative and 50% positive credit with good rental history
½ Additional Security Deposit

Good rental history with no credit
Co-signor or ½ additional security deposit

No rental or credit history
Up to double deposit

More than 50% positive credit, good rental history
Single security deposit

Current eviction
Decline

Falsification of application
Decline

Invalid social security number or other acceptable form of ID.
Decline

Failure to pay application fee
Decline

Incomplete application
Decline

Criminal History
Case by case.
Aggravated or sexual offenses in nature is automatic decline

 

The application process

applicationSo you’ve decided you want to rent a home from Leasing Texas and you’ve found the perfect house for your needs. It’s the perfect price range, location, schools and near everything important to you. You must have it but you are a little nervous about the application process.

First things first. Call the listing agent and schedule a viewing. Be honest with the agent about your situation so he or she can guide you in the right direction with your expectations.

Secondly, read over our general Qualifying criteria and determine if you qualify. If you don’t think you do, talk to the agent.

Third, fill out the application completely without leaving one detail omitted. Prepare to send a copy of your government issued ID, pay stubs and an explanation of anything a landlord may find questionable on your credit or background checks and pay your application fee.

Leasing Texas works quickly to process the application including credit, criminal, rental history and employment history background checks. Once all information is compiled, we may contact you for further questions and then be able to move forward with sending the information to the landlord. If additional information is needed, it’s always best to be honest and work to send the information as quickly as possible.

Once the landlord as reviewed, they will make a decision. This typically happens within 24 hours or less.

If your application is approved, you will receive an electronic copy of the lease to sign and will need to pay your security deposit within 48 hours; otherwise, we cannot hold the property for you.

Leasing Texas prepares for your move in day and will schedule for a move in walk through.

To summarize the application process:

  1. look at the property
  2. determine if you meet our general qualifying criteria
  3. fill out the application
  4. send in required documentation
  5. pay application fee
  6. get approved
  7. pay deposit and sign the lease

Don’t be nervous; it’s a very simple process. Here is a list of our general qualifying criteria

Qualifying criteria

 

 

 

What Happens to The Security Deposit?

security deposit

So you’re wondering what happens to the security deposit?

When a tenant pays their security deposit, the deposit is placed in a Leasing Texas trust account. Once the security deposit accounting has been completed at move out, the deposit is either refunded to the tenant and/or distributed to the landlord, depending on the condition of the property and if there were any charges against the deposit at move out.The security deposit accounting is performed within 30-days of the tenant surrendering the premises.

What Can the Landlord Deduct From the Security Deposit?

A landlord cannot legally deduct for normal wear and tear. This refers to deterioration, which occurs during regular, daily, intended use of the rental unit, for example nail holes in the walls from pictures or paintings. Damages caused by negligence, carelessness, accidents, or abuse of the premises by the tenant or the tenant’s guests are not normal wear and tear.

If the tenant moves out of a property leaving Kool-Aid stains on the carpet, a three-inch hole in the bathroom wall, and sacks of garbage in the garage (which were not there when the tenant moved in), these could be considered damages and the landlord is entitled to use all or part of the deposit to make these repairs.

However, if the tenant moves out of the property leaving it in the same condition as when the tenant moved in, except for normal wear and tear, and no money is owed the landlord, the tenant should get all of the deposit back.

Deductions From the Deposit

If the landlord makes any deductions from the deposit, a written, itemized accounting of how much is being charged for each item must be sent to the tenant. If the landlord fails to provide such an accounting within 30 days after the tenant moves out, the landlord may forfeit the right to withhold any part of the deposit. Furthermore, the deductions taken from the deposit must be for actual damages suffered by the landlord.

Can the Deposit Be Used in Place of the Last Month’s Rent?

The security deposit law also contains a protection for landlords. Normally, the tenant cannot deduct the security deposit from the last month’s rent without the landlord’s written permission. If the tenant withholds part of the rent and claims that the security deposit makes up the balance, that action will be in violation of the law. The landlord can sue the tenant for three times the amount wrongfully withheld plus court costs and reasonable

Who controls the tenant deposits

Money security concept

Who controls the tenant deposits when Leasing Texas manages the property?

When a tenant pays their security deposit, the deposit is placed in a Leasing Texas trust account. Once the security deposit accounting has been completed at move out, the deposit is either refunded to the tenant and/or distributed to the landlord, depending on the condition of the property and if there were any charges against the deposit at move out.

The security deposit accounting is performed within 30-days of the tenant surrendering the premises.

What Can the Landlord Deduct From the Security Deposit?

A landlord cannot legally deduct for normal wear and tear. This refers to deterioration, which occurs during regular, daily, intended use of the rental unit, for example nail holes in the walls from pictures or paintings. Damages caused by negligence, carelessness, accidents, or abuse of the premises by the tenant or the tenant’s guests are not normal wear and tear.

If the tenant moves out of a property leaving Kool-Aid stains on the carpet, a three-inch hole in the bathroom wall, and sacks of garbage in the garage (which were not there when the tenant moved in), these could be considered damages and the landlord is entitled to use all or part of the deposit to make these repairs.

However, if the tenant moves out of the property leaving it in the same condition as when the tenant moved in, except for normal wear and tear, and no money is owed the landlord, the tenant should get all of the deposit back.

Deductions From the Deposit

If the landlord makes any deductions from the deposit, a written, itemized accounting of how much is being charged for each item must be sent to the tenant. If the landlord fails to provide such an accounting within 30 days after the tenant moves out, the landlord may forfeit the right to withhold any part of the deposit. Furthermore, the deductions taken from the deposit must be for actual damages suffered by the landlord.

Can the Deposit Be Used in Place of the Last Month’s Rent?

The security deposit law also contains a protection for landlords. Normally, the tenant cannot deduct the security deposit from the last month’s rent without the landlord’s written permission. If the tenant withholds part of the rent and claims that the security deposit makes up the balance, that action will be in violation of the law. The landlord can sue the tenant for three times the amount wrongfully withheld plus court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

To find out what happens to the security deposit at lease termination, click here What happens to the deposit?

For a detailed explanation on the various deposits which may be required, click here  Various types of deposits  

How Are Repairs Handled?

repair_guyA common question is how are repairs handled?

When hiring a property manager, the second question is always “how are repairs handled?” (The first is “how much rent can I get?”).

When you hire Leasing Texas to manage your property, one part of your monthly management fee includes coordinating all repairs.

When a tenant calls in a repair, we will send out a dedicated member of our service team to assess the problem. If the repair is less than our specified amount to repair, we will authorize the repair and send you, the landlord, the receipt. If the repair is above a specified amount, we will contact you for authorization.

However, when your tenant calls in a repair request, we do everything in our power to talk them through resolving the issue. These items generally include how to unjamb a disposal, checking breakers, shutting off the water, etc. It is our goal to assist in the resolution of the repair or issue as quickly as possible, to not inconvenience the tenant and to save the landlord money when an issue can easily be resolved over the phone.

If the required repair is due to tenant or tenant’s guest negligence, the repair will be charged back to the tenant.