How To Leave a Rented Apartment And Return The Security Deposit

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In an ideal world, the owner is ready to split the insurance deposit into two months, understands everything about the natural depreciation of the apartment, and returns the entire amount upon departure, if the tenants did not spoil anything. This is not always the case. We figure out how to insure ourselves at the stage of signing the contract and how to return the insurance deposit if the owner refuses to give it back.

Leave a Rented Apartment And Return The Security Deposit

Leave a Rented Apartment And Return The Security Deposit

What is an insurance deposit?

A security deposit is a financial obligation that the tenant will pay on time and take good care of other people’s property. If something goes wrong, the landlord will deduct the damage from the deposit. And if there were no violations, the amount will be returned in full. The law calls it “security deposit”, but the term “insurance deposit” has become established in the real estate market. We will use it.

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What do you need to prescribe in the lease on the security deposit?

You should start thinking about the security deposit and its return even when signing the lease agreement. Here’s what should be foreseen in it:

When the owner can take money from the deposit.

In practice, it is often written in a lease agreement that a deposit is money into which the landlord can “climb” in the event of any violation by the employer of the contract.

Do I need to replenish the deposit after an insured event and at what time?

For example, you flooded your neighbors and the entire sum insured was spent on repairs. Do you have to re-pay the security deposit? Or will you “count” when you leave?

In what time frame the owner must return the security deposit. 

Not all contracts have a deadline that allows owners to feed their former tenants with promises. But in the law, this period is specified – 7 days from the moment when the employer demanded to return the deposit.

The contract must be accompanied by an act of acceptance of the transfer of the apartment. This document records the condition in which the apartment and things were transferred to you. Describe everything in detail so as not to leave room for manipulation in the future.

What is worth checking and describing in the apartment transfer and acceptance certificate:

  • The general condition of the apartment and renovation: floor, ceiling, walls, bathroom tiles, doors, and windows;
  • State of engineering systems: water supply, sewerage, heating and ventilation systems, gas supply and electricity, meter operation;
  • Operation of taps, sockets, and switches;
  • Availability of household appliances of certain brands and their condition (if they remain in the apartment);
  • List and condition of furniture (if it remains in the apartment);
  • The presence of expensive interior items and decor (paintings, designer chandeliers, etc.).

Describe and photograph all the faults – broken furniture, chips on tiles rubbed linoleum – and attach it all to the act.

If you find any breakdowns or other malfunctions after you have accepted the apartment according to the act, take a photo of it and send it to the landlord. This will make him less likely to blame you for the damaged item.

Is it possible to credit the security deposit against the last month of residence? 

Strictly speaking, the deposit has a completely different purpose – to give a guarantee to the owner of the apartment that the tenant will pay on time, will return the apartment safe and sound when the contract expires. In theory, this guarantee should work until the residents leave.

On the other hand, the law does not prohibit the deposit to be counted against the last month of residence, although from a legal point of view, at that moment the deposit will cease to be a deposit and turn into an advance. For the tenant, such a condition in the contract is beneficial – he does not have to “knock out” his money from the owner, but it worsens the position of the landlord – for a month he loses the insurance.

How to correctly “return” an apartment and get an insurance deposit?

If the relationship with the owner is good, there should be no problems.

If you feel that difficulties may arise with the return of the deposit, make sure:

– Warn in time that you have decided to move out. Proceed formally: send a valuable letter to the apartment owner with a list of the investment (the owner’s registration address must be in the lease);

– Prepare photos taken during the transfer of the apartment so that you have evidence on hand;

– At the meeting, draw up and sign the return certificate and take a picture of the condition of the apartment.

If there are no complaints, just write down: “the landlord has no complaints about the condition of the apartment and the date of its return.” If you damaged something, indicate in the act the amount of damage and the amount that the owner must return. Do not sign the act if you do not agree with the amount of damage, ask for documents confirming it (for example, checks). If the owner for some reason refuses to return the deposit, write it down in the same act;

– prepare a request for the return of the deposit in writing, send a certified letter (or a valuable letter with a description of the investment). After that, the landlord will have 7 days to return the money.

Important: if the deposit was not returned to you, make sure that there are no phrases in the return statement that the tenant has no claims against the landlord. These can be different expressions: “the tenant has no claims against the lessor under the contract”; “The parties have no financial claims to each other”; “All obligations of the parties under the contract are fulfilled, etc.” If the landlord did not return the deposit to you, he still has this obligation to you.

What to do if the security deposit is not returned?

So, the contract ended, you returned the apartment, signed the deed, but the deposit never returned to you. What to do in such cases?

In this situation, the owner must return the deposit in full within the period specified in the contract. Or, as we already wrote, within 7 days from the date of your request for a return. Therefore, it is better to prepare such a requirement in advance and submit it immediately.

If there is no response to the request, proceed:

  • Warn the landlord about the court, tell him that he will have to pay interest for the delay in returning, and the court costs will also be imposed on him;
  • Send a pre-trial claim – it is better to do it through the Russian mail, with a receipt acknowledgment (the owner’s address can be taken from the lease agreement), or given against signature;
  • Go to court – all the documents that you have drawn up in the process will come in handy: the act of return, and photographs of the apartment, and the demand for the return of payment, and the pre-trial claim.

But remember that you are not obliged to conduct conversations with the owner or file a claim, but you can go to court right away, especially if you have no hope of a peaceful resolution of the issue. The sooner you go to court in such a situation, the more likely you are to get your money back.

Short:

  • If you are just signing a contract for an apartment, clearly describe all the issues related to the deposit: what it provides, how it is replenished, and when it is returned.
  • Record the condition of the apartment at the entrance: describe it in detail in the act and take photos.
  • Try not to violate the contract: take care of the apartment and the owner’s belongings, pay on time, and warn about leaving on time.
  • Try to set off the deposit against the last month of payment or return it simultaneously with the return of the apartment.
  • Do not sign any No Claim Documents until you have received your deposit back.
  • If the owner does not return the deposit, warn that the court will recover interest and legal costs from him.
  • If peaceful measures did not help, go to court.