What is a Security Deposit and How to Ensure You Get it Back

How to get your security deposit aback when moving out!

With the percentage of renters on the rise for the last 25 years, there are a lot of things that need to be made clear. If you’ve never rented before in your life, there can be a lot of hidden tricks to deceit you out of your money. Whenever you are renting a property, you will have to pay a security deposit.

 What is a Security Deposit?

Whenever you are moving into a rental property, your landlord will request an additional payment of your first rent. Depending on the property, this amount will differ.
 
The reason a security deposit is being collected before you move in is because of any damages that may occur to the apartment. Such that aren’t from normal use (like broken glass, doors, or anything that was made by force).
 
A security deposit should be refunded when you are leaving the property and there isn’t a reason for the landlord to keep it.

 What Can and What Cannot be Deducted from a Security Deposit?

Every person who is renting should know what can result in deduction of the security deposit amount. By law, a landlord cannot withdraw any amount from the security deposit, because of normal wear and tear. However, a landlord can use your security deposit to fix:
  • Broken doors and locks
  • Broken fixtures and tiles
  • Broken windows
  • Tears and holes in the carpet
  • Stains from pets
  • Mold in the bathroom
  • Holes in walls
  • Other excessive damages

It’s also important to know what is considered normal wear and tear.

  • Faded paint and wallpapers
  • Furniture marks in carpet
  • Broken appliances from normal use
  • Rug wear and tear caused by normal use
  • Broken light bulbs
  • Picture and pinholes in walls
  • Dusting

All of the above are okay, if not excessive.


 What are your obligations as a tenant?

Every tenant is required to keep the property in good condition depending on the property rented. Regular cleaning and minimal maintenance are needed. Things like changing light bulbs, changing batteries or fixing minor drain problems, that do not require a professional.
 
Tenants have one more obligation as they move out. Occupants should clean the property when moving out.
 
You can either do it yourself or skip yourself the hard labour and hire the professionals to do it for you.
 
A landlord can refuse to return your bond if the property is excessively dirty, or in a condition worse than the condition of moving in.

 How to Ensure that You Get Your Security Deposit When Moving Out?

It’s always best if you receive your bond in full when moving out. There are ways to ensure that you do. The days before your landlord comes to look at the apartment should be utilised in preparing and fixing any small problems.
 
Changing any non-working light bulbs, cleaning the toilet and thoroughly scrubbing the oven. Those places are often checked thoroughly by the landlord. If they are dirty the landlord will want them cleaned, which can be done by a professional as well.
 
It’s always good to get your security deposit refunded in full. Sometimes a landlord can deduct a given amount from the bond, and refund the rest. It’s best to ask what is the reason, as you want to know why the landlord charged you for.

 FAQ’s on Rentals and Damage

Q: What is considered “carpet damage”?
Carpet damage in a rental property is one of the most common problems that a tenant may face. Because of this, we would suggest that you first discuss with the landlord the state of the carpet at the time of moving in.

Note any problems, tears, holes or dirt with him. You can clean it after, or you can demand that he hires a professional carpet cleaning crew to do it.

If that is not possible to do, then we would suggest that you clean the carpet as best as possible. Normal wear and tear on the carpet won’t be enough for the landlord to deduct cash from the bond. However, if there are any new holes, stains, or tears, then this is not considered normal wear and tear, and you will most likely have to pay for the cleaning, fixing, or the complete change of the carpeting.

Q: What is “normal wear and tear” on a rental property?
As mentioned above, a landlord cannot charge you for normal wear and tear. Many tenants wonder what is normal wear and tear, it’s everything from faded paint and wallpaper from the sun, to discolouration in the carpet.
Sometimes, in high travel areas, slight tears in the carpet may be considered normal wear and tear, but we suggest discussing this with your landlord.

Q: Do tenants have to pay for carpet cleaning?
The answer to this question is that it depends on your contract. If your contract demands that you have to hire a professional company to clean the property, then you should hire a company to do the cleaning.
Keep in mind, that the landlord should deduct the amount from the security deposit, and he should pay for the cleaning.


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