Most tenants will pay a deposit before they move into a rented property. As a landlord, this gives you some security, and you know that if there is damage to your house, apartment or flat, you have this amount of money available to cover those costs.
Indeed, there are going to be some circumstances where you can keep a tenant’s deposit. But, you have to be careful when you do this and make sure you have an appropriate reason to keep the security amount. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know as a landlord in order to keep to your agreement and be fair to tenants.
When Can You Keep a Security Deposit?
There are a number of reasons why a landlord can keep the security deposit. Understanding these situations will allow you to make appropriate decisions and also mean that you do not get into trouble. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common examples.
Of course, if a tenant causes significant damage to a property, this can stop them from getting their deposit back. For example, they might have broken furniture, or there are holes in the wall. They cannot be charged for fair wear and tear.
Tenants are expected to clean the property before they move out and return it to the same standard as when they moved in. Indeed, if they have not done this, you can use the security deposit for cleaning charges. If you are a landlord, you might want to consider using end of tenancy cleaning services to prepare a property for the next people moving in. Learn more about end of tenancy cleaning from Platinum Cleaning, and this could save you time and hassle.
Another situation where you are going to be allowed to keep the security deposit is if a tenant does not pay their rent. If you are in a situation where a payment is missed, this is going to allow you to keep the money to cover this cost.
Decorating Without Consent
Some tenants make changes to the property without the consent of their landlord. For example, they might paint walls bright colours or even change the locks. This can be a reason for withholding the deposit.
How Much Can You Charge for a Security Deposit?
If you are new to being a landlord, you might not be sure how much money you can ask for when it comes to a security deposit. Well, this amount should not be more than five weeks’ worth of rent. If you do charge your tenant more than that, they can make a complaint about this, and it can get you into trouble. So, you want to work out the security deposit amount carefully from the beginning to avoid this from happening.
Of course, if there are no problems with your tenant, you are expected to return this security deposit promptly when they move out. In the meantime, it should be kept in a tenancy deposit scheme. You should provide your tenant with information on this, so they understand where their money is and what is happening to it.
It is important to remember that there are certain things you cannot keep the security deposit for. For example, if you are choosing to redecorate for the next tenants, this is going to be the responsibility of the landlord to fund this. In particular, fair wear and tear cannot mean you withhold the security deposit. These are things like a worn carpet or marks on the wall. They happen due to life, and it does not mean that you can charge for every single thing you find in a property. Of course, if it is unnecessary damage, this is going to be different. But, wear and tear you would expect from living in a home is not going to be something you can charge to fix.