Security deposits and being fair
We always video tape each unit after it is clean and ready for the new tenant. I always zoom in on known and existing issues and talk about the condition while I'm taping. I've learned over the years to zoom in on the window screens and both sides of the doors because they get damaged frequently. We also give each new tenant a "Check in Condition Sheet" where they can write down marks on the wall and stains on the carpet and other note worthy things. I video tape each place when they move out so I have a good record. I take still pictures of damage because they are easier handle and store. Some people will throw the entire screen and frame away because that is harder to notice than a screen with a large whole. I clean and repair things as quickly as possible so I know the costs that need to be withheld from the security deposit. An itemized statement showing amounts withheld for cleaning and damage and a check for the remaining security deposit needs to be sent withing 14 days after they move out. I'm always surprised how many people don't even try to get their security deposit back. I'm pretty generous to the folks that try. The worst ones are those that cleaned, but don't know how to clean so everything needs to be done correctly. They think they should get the entire deposit back because they tried to clean. My advice is to hire Merry Maids or a similar service to do the cleaning because it brings in an outside party that can vouch for the condition of the property. They get paid out of the security deposit and it also eliminates the argument that you charged too much for cleaning. Remember, you are in the rental business, not the cleaning business.