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What is a security deposit?

Something many tenants find confusing when searching for a place to rent is the deposit.

Security deposit is usually required when one rents out a house, apartment, or room. Most companies that lease cars or trailers for private use also require a deposit.

Now let’s break it down to help you understand better by answering a few questions regarding the deposit when renting a place to stay.

What is a security deposit?

Security deposit is an amount charged separately from the rental amount by the landlord. A form of assurance the residence will be cared for during the period of stay.

This money is kept for safekeeping by the landlord or management company handling the property. It is saved for any damages that may arise on the property during the tenant’s stay.

When the tenant moves out, and there are no damages to the property, the deposit is payable in full after inspection of the property by the landlord.

If there are damages to property that have been caused by the tenant during the stay, the landlord may deduct from the security deposit. These may include painting, replacing light bulbs, non-working plugs, door handles, torn carpets, broken windows, etc.

In some cases, tenants also move out without notice to the landlord. It may affect the expected rental income, which means the security deposit can compensate the landlord for a missed payment.

Is it compulsory to pay a security deposit?

It is “not” compulsory to pay a security deposit. However, such a deposit will always differ based on each landlord. In some instances, the tenant and landlord can agree to exclude a security deposit from the lease agreement. However, agree that the tenant will fix all damages to the property that may occur during their stay.

Is the deposit the same amount as rent?

The deposit amount is usually equivalent to the rental amount, although it can even be less or more than the rental amount. This is individually calculated by each landlord, based on what their required deposit is for.

Will my deposit be refunded?

In actuality, a security deposit is meant to be refundable on the basis that the rented property is left without any damages by the tenant upon moving out.

However, it can differ. Some landlords only charge a small deposit to cover the painting of the rental place once the tenant moves out. Where the deposit will not be refunded, it should be discussed. And if possible, in writing.

By: Tebogo Thamaga for Bathamaga Property

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