As professionals who provide rental management services in Albuquerque, we have seen how easy it is for landlords to make mistakes with security deposits. If you haven’t documented everything properly at the beginning and end of a lease term, you can often find yourself in the middle of a dispute with your tenant about how much they should get back.
We’re talking about how to professionally handle security deposit returns in Albuquerque, but here are some things to remember as you’re collecting and holding that security deposit:
- Always collect the security deposit before a tenant moves into the property. You want to make sure those funds are clear before you hand over the keys.
- There are no limits in New Mexico to what you can collect as a security deposit. Don’t be unreasonable, however. Best practices say the equivalent of one month’s rent is a good starting point.
- Document the amount that was collected in the lease agreement.
Here is how to handle security deposit returns in Albuquerque.
How Much of the Security Deposit Will you Return to Tenants?
Security deposits are held throughout the tenancy. While it’s collected to protect you from the risk of lease breaks, unpaid rent, and property damage, it’s still considered the tenant’s money. When your tenant has moved out and you’re conducting an inspection and preparing to return the deposit, you will make decisions about whether the tenant will get the entire deposit back, some of the deposit back, or none of that deposit.
Here are the reasons you can withhold money from a security deposit in Albuquerque:
- Unpaid rent
- Unpaid utilities
- Any necessary repairs due to property damage caused by the tenant
- Any damage that’s more than wear and tear
Sometimes, it’s difficult to distinguish normal wear and tear from tenant damage. You might not know what you’re looking at – are the nail holes in the wall worthy of a security deposit deduction? What about the scratches on the floor from a pet?
This demonstrates why a move-in inspection is critical. Document every detail of your property’s condition, from floors to walls to appliances and outdoor spaces. You want to accurately compare how the home looked at move-in verses move-out.
Timelines for Security Deposit Return
You’ll need to return your tenant’s security deposit within 30 months of their move-out date or the end of the lease agreement – whichever is later. If you’re planning to make deductions from a tenant’s security deposit, you’ll need to provide your tenant with a written itemized list of these deductions. This notice should state what deductions have been taken and the amount of each deduction.
Work quickly to inspect and make repairs. Those 30 days will pass quickly, and you also want to begin preparing your Albuquerque rental property for new tenants.
These are the basics to security deposit law in New Mexico. If you’d like some help understanding how to handle your deposit or you need some assistance with Albuquerque property management, we can be your resource. Contact us at Bruni Karr Agency.