Our tenant resided in the unit for 2 years and we took over managing it as the property manager was doing a poor job. Using the move in report from the previous manager we calculated deductions and returned $1900 of the 2800 deposit. Tenant is now providing images they took at move in that show some charges are not valid. I am, of course, happy to return any deposit rightfully due them.

We had to send out a carpet cleaner, as they neglected to do so. The bottom of the stairs was heavily soiled by their dog. The cleaner recommended replacement but we hoped the smell was gone and only the stain remained. Thus we only charged them for the cleaning. The smell is not gone and that section of carpet needs to be replaced. Since they’re disputing the return can I add deductions or is that not allowed? Can I say thank you for showing x was not broken at move in but I’m keeping that money to cover carpet replacement, which I am now aware is necessary?

1 Answer 1


Landlord tenant law is handled at the state and local level.

Here is a brochure from the state of Colorado

After a tenant leaves a rental property, the landlord has 30 days (unless a longer period of time, not to exceed 60 days, is agreed to in the lease) to either:

  1. Return the security deposit in full, or
  2. Return a portion of the deposit along with a written list of expenses incurred by the landlord or damages caused by the tenant and the cost of the necessary expenses or repairs. If the deposit amount is larger that the cost of the expenses or repairs, the landlord must return the balance of the deposit. The landlord is not required to provide the tenant with copies of receipts for expenses or repairs in addition to the written list, though doing so as a courtesy may be appreciated by tenants as helpful clarification.

a key item will be is this damage or wear and tear:

“Normal Wear and Tear” Colorado defines “normal wear and tear” as “deterioration which occurs based upon the use for which the rental unit is intended, without negligence, carelessness, accident or abuse of the premises or equipment . . . by the tenant or . . . household or . . . guests." C.R.S. §38-12-102(1). “Normal wear and tear” is caused by normal, everyday use. Damage is injury to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, caused by irresponsible unintentional actions or intentional actions (see page 64 of this Handbook, Appendix E, Depreciation Schedule). For example:

Normal Wear & Tear      Damage 
Worn and dirty carpet   Torn, stained, or burned carpet 
Faded curtains          Torn or missing curtains 
Worn out keys           Lost keys 
Dirty window screens    Torn or missing screens 
Faded, chipped paint    Hole in the wall

Please review the entire document because it also discusses the requirements for the tenant to dispute the amount, and how quickly you have to respond. In many states you can either go before a 3rd part for mediation, or they can go through small claims court.

  • 1
    Thank you for the link. I have referred to law and am in compliance with it. A list of damages was sent along with the portion of the deposit that was returned. But my question is, during the dispute time can I add additional charges against the tenant. That is not something I've found covered specifically in the law.
    – MTSunset
    Jun 12, 2020 at 15:23
  • Expect that they will dispute the timing of the additional claim. They will make the case that you shouldn't have sent the funds back if you were going to add to the list of damages. You have to decide the risks which can be 3x the amount in dispute. Jun 12, 2020 at 15:36

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