Collecting a security deposit is an important aspect of the start of a new lease cycle with a new tenant. The amount of the deposit, along with the particulars around how the deposit can be used and how the deposit is returned at the end of the lease agreement is outlined in the lease agreement itself.
Amount and allowable charges to the deposit
In the state of Nevada, the security deposit can be no greater than three times the monthly rent. This amount is inclusive of any last month’s rent. The security deposit is intended to be used for any damages beyond normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, and any breach of the lease agreement. In addition, the security deposit can be used for the reasonable costs of cleaning the unit at the end of the tenancy. Note that the inclusion of cleaning fees is not standard in all states’ leases.
Need to provide a move-in checklist of unit condition
A best practice as a landlord is to perform a move-in inspection with the tenant as a way to document and agree on any existing damage. In Nevada, it is a requirement that the landlord provide a move-in checklist and condition of the premises, noting any existing damage. LeaseRunner provides a Condition of the Premises Checklist which is a helpful way to document any pre-existing damage.
Returning the deposit
At the end of the tenancy the landlord has 30 days after the termination of the tenancy to return the deposit to the tenant, along with a written accounting of the disposition of the security deposit. For that reason the landlord will need to have obtained the tenant’s forwarding address. A best practice for landlords is to schedule a move-out inspection with the tenant present to review the state of the unit and agree on any damage beyond normal wear and tear. Remember to take pictures with date stamps, which should be compared to the pictures taken prior to move-in.