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Fancy Tenant Wants to Use their security deposit

We have had a tenant for two years . They pay on time and for the most part take care of the home. The only issues we have had were when he didn't want to do something. Like the lawn is dying and he said he is mad we don't have sprinklers.  Etc. As long as things are his way they pay on time and well.  It is time for their lease to end and they want to use their security deposit for rent. They didn't ask either they texted and said, "this is the way it will be, no discussion". Pretty sure they are use to pushing people around. This is a violation. While we don't plan on their being damage to the home we really don't know until we walk through. I doubt they will have carpets cleaned etc.   We have served all notices and they don't care. Is it worth it to go to court and pay all the fees or do we just leave it? The principle of it really bothers us and that they told us what to do.   It is a nicer home that we actually hope to occupy at some point.  Please Idaho

The answer is (or should be) contained within your Lease. If you have a clause that says the deposit cannot be used for rent then you can refer them to that section. To one point of your post - you are correct you have no way of knowing what/if there is any damage or how extensive it might be. When I receive notice from a tenant I schedule an inspection. This is not the final inspection but it gives me (and them) an idea of what needs to be addressed. I tell them something along the lines of I've got come see the unit so I can coordinate with my subs on how much time to expect, materials and so on. That I need to get on the subs waiting list - anything along that line. I commonly tell them "Within the next couple of days I need to come take a look at the house so I can pass along to the painter how much work I'll need him to do" or as your going through take a look at sheetrock, open and close the doors (check the walls where door handles hit) you don't want to give the impression you're going to be counting every nail hole but you need to know if there are holes in the wall. The point is to conduct a thorough room-by-room walk through. Take a checklist that has every room detailed (Kitchen, Bathroom, BR1, BR2, etc) and an outline drawing for each room. I use a basic floorplan be sure to list all of the appliances. OPEN each one. If the oven or stove are dirty mention it - same for fridge, washing machine (especially soap dispenser) check the bathrooms. As you walk if you see/find find holes mark it down. Take your time, don't rush, and don't let them rush you. Be prepared and organized once you are in the house to minimize distractions. I've found its best to take someone with you that can help keep you (and the tenants) focused on what you're trying to determine. Of course be nice but small talk is not helpful in this instance. If someone is with you it just doesn't seem as rude for the conversation to be kept on point and 'steered to all work'. If they don't know the person you bring that is better because the 'helper' can point out things they feel you should notice. You wouldn't pay a subcontractor while he talked about his kids, his job, his move whatever and tenants (especially long term) tend to want to converse like you're friends and not in a business fashion. Find a move-out cleaning list to give them an idea of what you expect to be done. Be reasonable the home isn't going to be perfect but it should be clean - unless it wasn't when they moved in. This is where pictures go a long way. If you don't have a good app to track move-in and move-outs its an absolute necessity. Tenants can't argue with before pictures and after that are completely different/show damage. If you have carpet your lease needs to specifically state if it should be cleaned before move out. Whether its worth it to go to court will be based on what you find when you're inside. It is not worth the hassle if you are talking about minor issues but if its badly damaged that is a different story. Your time, energy, effort aren't so much as the materials and labor if its badly cared for.
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