Landlords: Walkthroughs Win in Small Claims Court

As a landlord, you are most likely very busy. Still, you need to make sure you don’t cut corners on issues that can come back on you down the road. One of them is doing a complete walkthrough with your tenants at both the beginning and at the end of the lease. This needs to be done together with thorough documentation of anything that is damaged being identified, written down, and then signed by both parties.

This walkthrough process should take some time to complete and neither party should be rushing through it. Both the landlord and the tenant should have a copy of the walkthrough results. Another complete walkthrough should be done when the tenant is moving out. This way both parties can compare what was on the original walkthrough and what is identified now.

If a security deposit was put down on the property, then part of it may be kept to cover the new damages. Most tenants will agree to this because they know that they are responsible for what has been damaged. Even if they don’t want to admit to it, what is on paper is what the small claims court will look at. They know they don’t have a chance to win the case so they will agree to the reduced refund of their security deposit.

Under California law, the final walk through after someone has moved out must be done within 21 days. This is because that is the time frame for returning the security deposit in California. No landlord in their right mind wants to give all of that deposit back without first checking over the property. They need to make sure it is clean and that there isn’t any type of damage that the tenant would be monetarily responsible for.

Take it from us, the California small claims court is full of cases where landlords and tenants are disputing over damages. On one side you will have the landlord who wants to be compensated. They claim the damages weren’t there when the tenants moved in but are there now. On the other side you will have the tenant who claims that the damage where there since day one. Therefore they don’t feel they should have to pay for the repairs.

Walkthroughs can avoid all this aggravation! It will be documented what the shape of everything was when they moved in and then when they move out. This documentation will be sure to save landlords a great deal of hassle. Even if you do need to proceed with a case with the California small claims court you will be able to back up your allegations.

Completing through walkthroughs of all your rental property will help protect your investment. It will save you both time and money as it allows you to be able to work with the tenants. Hopefully this will prevent you from taking additional steps with the California small claims court.

If you are a landlord and have small claims court money judgments going uncollected, submit your cases to us for consideration today. We may be able to turn your judgments into cash!