As a renter, you want your living space to be pleasant. Many people interpret this as adding decorations that enhance the individuality of a space. 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. But if you’re unsure, you can unintentionally make modifications that cause your security deposit to be deducted later on.
It is essential to understand what is permitted and what is not. Find out how to avoid losing your security deposit by being judicious with your decorating choices 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 the damage must be severe enough to require repairs. For instance, if you mounted heavy artwork or shelves that left large holes in the walls, used adhesives that damaged the paint or wallpaper, or made other changes that caused physical damage to the property, the landlord may deduct the cost of repairs from your security deposit.
The amount of the deduction will be determined by the extent of the damage. For the sake of avoiding disagreements about security deposit deductions, it is imperative that you carefully research your lease agreement and comprehend the specifications for design choices and property maintenance.
Failure to Restore the Original Condition
Assume that your lease agreement required you to return the property to its original condition at the end of the lease, and you neglected to do so after making decor-related modifications. The costs associated with restoring the property to its initial condition could then be covered by your landlord using the security deposit you provided.
Whether tenants can paint the interior of their rental home is one of the most commonly asked questions by renters. Given how simple it is to add your own style to a room or your entire house by changing the paint color, it makes sense why this is a popular worry.
However, before you begin painting, you must first consult your lease or speak with your proprietor. Many tenancies stipulate that you must return the property in its original condition, including the original 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 agreement would have specified the permitted and prohibited decor items. Many renters do not consider the potential wall damage caused by the installation of framed artwork, mounted televisions, and other wall-mounted decorative items. The cost of repairs rises with the severity of the damage, and even a few nail holes in a wall might diminish the amount of the security deposit that is reimbursed.
It’s critical to plan your decor with the final result in mind to protect your deposit. You could choose hangers without nails or avoid wall hangings altogether. Large works of art or televisions can be placed atop an accent table or cabinet without causing any wall damage.
Excessive Wear and Tear
During a tenancy, wear and tear on a rental property is common. However, if your choice of decor causes excessive damage, such as weighty furniture causing damage to the floors, or if you fail to maintain the property, the landlord may retain a portion of your security deposit to cover the cost of repairs or replacements.
It’s best to enlist assistance when moving large pieces of furniture, and to put something protective underneath, like a blanket or moving cushion, to prevent floor damage. 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 has the right to take a portion of your security deposit to pay for cleaning costs if your decorating choices or general living habits cause the property to be excessively dirty or in need of repair beyond normal wear and tear.
It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll eventually move out of a rental property, so when decorating, keep in mind that you’ll need to return the home or apartment to its original state. The fewer repairs required, the more likely you are to receive your entire security deposit returned.
As a tenant, you should thoroughly examine your lease agreement and, if necessary, your landlord’s justifications for retaining your security deposit. If you believe that the deductions are unjustified or do not comply with local regulations, you can challenge them legally. You can argue against the deductions by providing evidence of the property’s condition both when you moved in and when you left. In addition, it is advisable to communicate with your landlord in order to comprehend their reasoning and possibly reach a resolution.
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Originally Published on September 10, 2021
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