Published on: 15 January 2020
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What is a security deposit?
When booking accommodation, tenants are commonly asked to pay a sum of money in advance: it’s the security deposit.
Security deposit: an essential part of the renting process
What is it?
The security deposit is a sum you pay your lessor when you sign your lease agreement and that he keeps temporarily. It’s not mandatory by law, but owners have the right to require it and virtually always do. The amount and conditions surrounding the deposit must be specified in your lease agreement
What’s it for?
Lessors want their property to remain in good condition so they can continue renting it easily in the long run. The rental deposit is for compensating your lessor if he’s got complaints about you. Indeed, he has the right not to return the security deposit in case of problems that occur during the rental period. These disputes may be of various kinds, here are the most common examples:
- property damage
- lack of maintenance of furniture or equipment
- a significant delay in the payment of rent or charges
- unpaid rents
Rules surrounding the security deposit
How is the amount fixed?
The security deposit as well as its amount must be included in the lease agreement.
The amount of the security deposit may be freely determined by the lessor. However, it may not exceed a certain amount. The maximum limit corresponds to :
- 1 month's rent if the accommodation is unfurnished
- 2 months' rent if the accommodation is furnished
The deposit may be higher for furnished accommodation because the risk of damage is higher if the accommodation comes with furniture and equipment.
Which method of payment for my security deposit?
There are no specific rules on how the security deposit should be transferred. Here are the most common means of payment for the deposit:
- by cheque
- by bank transfer
- by Paypal or other online money transfer platforms
The importance of check-in inventory of fixtures
The inventory of fixtures is a crucial step in your rental, and particularly for the security deposit. It’s important to conduct a thorough inventory of fixtures when you enter the apartment so that you and your lessor are very clear about what can be deducted or not from your deposit.
During the inventory of fixtures, you should agree with your landlord on the state of the accommodation and its equipment. In this way, the exit inventory of fixtures will allow you to compare the state of the apartment at the end of the rental with its state right before you moved in. This comparison will determine whether the apartment has been damaged by the tenant. If this is the case, the owner has the right not to return the security deposit paid by the tenant.
Getting the deposit back
If no deterioration is noted
The comparison of the entry and exit inventory of fixtures determines whether the tenant has damaged the dwelling or its equipment/furniture. If no damage is to declare, there is no reason for the landlord to retain the deposit.
The landlord has a period of 1 month after the check-out inventory of fixtures to return to you the entirety of the sum of money paid at the time of the deposit.
It sometimes happens that the landlord does not return the amount due after this 1 month period. Don't worry, some owners manage dozens of properties and don't always think about doing so. In this case, feel free to remind him. You can send him a registered follow-up letter with acknowledgement of receipt.
In case of property damage by the tenant
Sometimes, the condition of the premises reveals that the dwelling has been damaged during the rental In this case, the landlord has the right to keep a certain part of the security deposit, or even the entire deposit.
The percentage of the deposit that the landlord can keep depends on the amount of repairs to be made. To do this, the landlord must provide an estimate of the repairs he or she has had to make to restore the accommodation. He has to provide you with quotes and bills of the reparations he has to conduct to support his claim. If the amount of the estimates does not exceed the amount of the guarantee deposit, the owner has 1 to 2 months to return the remaining part of the deposit to you.
Avoid problems related to security deposit with Studapart
Find guidance before booking...
Studapart walks you through the booking process. Our team of experts speaks several languages and is available 6 days a week to help you if you have any doubts. Are you unsure what your landlord is asking you? Feel free to give us a call so as not to take any risks. Are you worried about the inventory of fixtures? We are here to give you all our advice and tips.
… but also after your rental
Problems related to the security deposit may arise during the rental period and also after you move out. If the landlord is late in returning the security deposit, we can help you speed things up. We are in constant contact with our 36,000 private landlords and we know how to deal with such problems quickly. If there is a disagreement between you and your landlord about the amount of the repairs, Studapart acts as an intermediary between the two parties. This avoids unnecessary conflicts!