You want to feel at home in the property you’re renting as a tenant. For many, this involves including decorative components that enhance the individuality of a home. If you are a tenant, though, your decorating decisions could have a big impact on how much of your security deposit you receive back.
Your lease typically specifies which alterations you are permitted to make and which require an owner’s permission. However, if you are uncertain, you may make mistakes that result in your security deposit being deducted.
Knowing the limits of what is permitted and what is not is crucial. Discover how to avoid losing your security deposit by choosing tasteful design and avoiding repair fees.
Causing Damage to the Property
Landlords frequently deduct security deposits due to tenant-inflicted damage caused by their decor choices. It’s crucial to remember that there must be enough damage to warrant repairs. The cost of repairs may be deducted from your security deposit by the landlord, for instance, if you placed bulky artwork or shelves on the walls that left significant holes, used adhesives that ruined paint or wallpaper, or made other changes that physically damaged the property.
The size of the deduction will depend on the severity of the damage. To avoid disputes over security deposit deductions, it is essential to carefully review your lease agreement and comprehend the requirements for decor choices and property maintenance.
Failure to Restore the Original Condition
Assume that the rental contract required you to return the property to its original state at the end of the lease, and you neglected to do so after making decor-related alterations. In this case, your landlord may use your security deposit to cover the cost of restoring the property to its original condition.
Whether tenants can paint the interior of their rental home is one of the most commonly asked questions by renters. Given that changing the paint color is a simple method to distinctly customize a space or a whole house, it makes sense why this is a prevalent concern.
However, before you begin painting, you must first consult your lease or speak with your proprietor. Many leases stipulate that the property must be returned in its original condition, including the wall color.
Violating the Lease Terms
If your lease agreement contained specific requirements for decor choices (such as no painting or nailing things to the wall), and you disregarded them without the landlord’s consent, this could be a justification for withholding the security deposit. Your lease provisions would have specified what was and was not permitted in terms of interior design. Many tenants fail to take into account the possible wall deterioration brought on by mounting framed art, televisions, or other home accents. The security deposit refund might be affected by even a few nail holes in a wall, and the cost of repairs rises as the damage gets worse.
Plan your decor with the final result in mind to avoid losing your security deposit. You might hang items on the walls without using nails or by using nail-free hangers. Large pieces of art or televisions can function just as well on top of an accent table or cabinet and won’t harm the walls.
Excessive Wear and Tear
During a tenancy, wear and tear on a rental property is common. The landlord may keep a percentage of your deposit to pay the cost of repairs or replacements, though, if your choice of decor causes substantial damage, such as when heavy furniture harms the floors or if you fail to maintain the property.
To prevent floor damage, it’s best to move large furniture pieces with the assistance of another person and to provide a protective surface below, like a blanket or moving pad. Consider purchasing felt padding for the bottom of your furniture if you move your furniture frequently to make it easier to rearrange your décor and reduce the likelihood of damage.
Your landlord is allowed to deduct cleaning costs from your security deposit if the condition of the property is beyond reasonable wear and tear due to your decorating decisions or general living habits.
It is essential to keep in mind that when you rent a home, you will eventually move out, so you must decorate with the understanding that you will need to return the home or apartment to its original condition. You’re more likely to receive your entire security deposit refunded if there isn’t much restoration work needed.
Check your lease agreement and, if necessary, your landlord’s justifications for keeping your security deposit very carefully as a tenant. If you believe that the deductions are unjustified or do not comply with local regulations, you can challenge them legally. If you want to challenge the deductions, you may be able to do so by providing evidence of the property’s condition at the time of your move in and out. It’s also a good idea to talk to your landlord so you can grasp their perspective and perhaps come to an agreement.
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Originally Published on September 10, 2021
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