The rental security deposit is an amount of money that every tenant is required to give to the landlord at the beginning of the rental period. The money is used to cover damages to property or default in making payments. However, if there are no damages caused by the tenant, the landlord has a legal obligation to refund the security deposit in full. In some instances, disputes arise between the landlord and tenants regarding the partial or full return of the security deposit. Read on to find out more about this matter and how to ensure you get your deposit back at the end of your rental period.
Deduction or denial of security deposit
The landlord has a right to deduct part of or deny you the entire amount paid as a security deposit under the following circumstances:
- Failure to pay rent partially or in full
- Failure to pay for utilities such
- Loss or damage to property in the rental unit
Note that the landlord should refund you a part of the security deposit if the cost of damages is lower than the amount of security deposit. If you did not cause any damages, you are entitled to a refund of the entire money.
How to ensure you get your security deposit
The landlord is supposed to refund your security deposit within a given period as stipulated in the rental agreement. To ensure this, you can undertake the following:
- Create a checklist before moving in
Failure to note down damaged furniture, appliances, or other property before moving into a rental unit can cost you your security deposit. In most cases, the landlord will assume that you caused the damages if you never mentioned them. To avoid this, make a list of damaged items and inform the landlord. Having one or two witnesses is also essential.
- Give proper notice
Some rental agreements require that you give a notice asking for a refund of your security notice within a specified period. If you fail to do this, your landlord can use this as an excuse to deny or delay the money.
- Take pictures
Ensure you remove all your belongings and furniture, and clean the rental unit. After doing this, take clear pictures of the entire unit. If a dispute arises, you can use the photos as evidence that you left everything in good condition.
- Have the unit inspected
Let the landlord inspect the unit in your presence before leaving. If any items need to be fixed, you should be present to see the extent of the damage and even calculate the cost together with them.
If you don't get part of or all your security deposit back and are confident that you did not cause any damages or default on payments, consult a lawyer for advice and representation in court. You will be able to present a solid case and get your deposit back.