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Central Georgia Realty is a full-service real estate brokerage and property management firm headquartered in Senoia, GA and serving all of South and North Atlanta. Currently managing over 200 residential properties for individuals, small investors, and institutional investors, we are experts in this part of the state in the property management business. We also offer management services for smaller multi-family properties, up to 30 units.

In addition to property management services, Central Georgia Realty also offers real estate sales. Whether you're a home owner looking to sell your home, an investor looking for great investment opportunities, or a buyer looking for your dream home, we can help you reach your goals.

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Property Management Blog

Tenant Threats about Security Deposits

Todd Ortscheid - Thursday, March 26, 2015

If you've been a landlord for long, you've probably dealt with tenants who left the property owing money, either for repairs or for unpaid rent or late fees. Obviously, the reason that a landlord requires a security deposit is to cover these amounts. But when a landlord withholds the deposit as he's supposed to, tenants frequently start throwing around threats about getting lawyers and filing lawsuits. What should you do when this happens?

First, it's important to make sure that you've followed the law and the lease agreement. If the tenant really does have a legitimate dispute, then you should work to resolve it fairly. This is rarely the case, though. Usually the landlord has complied with the lease and the law, but the tenant is still demanding their deposit back.

So after you've confirmed that you're within your rights, the next step is to send the tenant a response to their dispute in writing. Make sure that the response is written in a professional manner and not as an angry diatribe. If the tenant has angered you with their accusations, then take a break and come back to write the response after you've calmed down. If the matter does end up in court, you want to make sure that you looked like a consummate professional. Judges do factor that in and will make assumptions about you if you behave unprofessionally. In your response, just state the facts about what the lease says regarding return of the security deposit, and clearly state why the security deposit was withheld.

If the tenant still doesn't relent, and starts making threats about hiring a lawyer, then don't worry. We hear this constantly from angry tenants, and 99% of the time, they never hire any lawyer and never file any lawsuit. They're just trying to scare you. Ask yourself this: if the tenant couldn't even afford to pay their rent or pay for the repairs to get the property ready for move-out, how are they going to afford a lawyer or court costs? Just calmly tell the tenant that you will be more than happy to speak with their attorney, because you know that any attorney will see the facts and realize that you have complied with the law and lease. That will almost certainly be the end of it.

In that incredibly rare occasion when a tenant actually does file a lawsuit to try to recover their deposit that they are not entitled to, you can either defend yourself in court or hire an attorney. We would recommend hiring an attorney, but there is no requirement to do so in most jurisdictions.

Obviously, the best way to avoid these problems is to hire a professional property manager, like us. When these problems come up, we take care of them so you don't have to, and we have a team of attorneys to deal with frivolous litigation. Give us a call to talk to us about how we can help you so that you don't have to worry about these tenant problems.

Legal Documents

Todd Ortscheid - Thursday, February 26, 2015

One of the most important reasons to hire a professional to manage your properties is the importance of the various legal documents associated with it. Everyone is familiar with leases (although few individual landlords have a good lease form), but there is actually a lot more documents that you really should be familiar with if you're going to manage rental properties. This is just a small sample:

  • Lease Agreement
  • Lead Paint Disclosure (for properties built before 1978)
  • Government's "Protecting Your Family from Lead in Your Home" pamphlet
  • Move-In/Move-Out Inspection Form
  • Amendments
  • Tenant application
  • Credit reporting disclosure
  • Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
  • Tenant Move-Out Statement & Security Deposit Reconciliation
  • Etc.

Failure to use the proper legal documents can land you in hot water. For example, federal law requires that the lead paint disclosure be provided and signed by both parties on any home built prior to 1978, and it has to contain the information required by the government statute. Along with the disclosure, a copy of the government's pamphlet about lead-based paint has to be provided to the tenant.

Other items may not be required by law, but will cause you problems if civil suit is filed. For example, if there are two tenants in the property and one of them leaves, if you don't do an amendment addressing the security deposit, you could end up with a lawsuit disputing who gets the security deposit and when.

The best thing to do is to hire a professional management firm so that these items are taken care of for you. Barring that, you should consult an attorney to make sure that the forms that you're using are sufficient. Give us a call if you'd like to hand over management of your property to a professional team that can take care of everything for you!

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Central Georgia Realty
42 Main Street Suite 2B
Senoia, GA 30276

(678) 648-1244

Central Georgia Realty, LLC, Property Management, Senoia, GA

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