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Security Deposit

Paying it out and getting it back

Published on : 21-05-2013, 12:09 by

"How much!?"

It is surely reasonable for a property owner to ask a security deposit. Of course, if you've justed arrived in Amsterdam and have yet to bank your first pay-cheque then two month's deposit, a month's advance rent, and a month agency fee can sound like a lot of money - it is A LOT OF MONEY! It's four month's rent (plus a little tax) and you've not even received the keys yet. The two questions that keep cropping up are: 1) How can I reduce the amount of deposit? 2) Will I get my security deposit back at the end?

How can I reduce the amount of deposit?

Here are few practical thoughts:

  1. Ask if it's possible to pay one month's deposit instead of two. If two month's is still required, see if you can pay one up front and the next month's deposit with the second month's rent.
  2. Ask your employer if they will front the deposit - or at least lend it to you with a payback scheme spread over the next few months. Try not to blink too much or sweat when asking your HR manager this.
  3. Ask if the owner will accept a bank guarantee instead of a cash deposit. This takes time to set up and there are costs inolved (e.g. interest on the amount of the guarantee over the life-time of the gaurantee).

Be aware that the hotter the property the more interest there is from potential tenants. If you make too many demands regarding the deposit then the owner may reject you as either unreliable (i.e. likely defaulter in the future) or simply favour another candidate that pays the requested deposit no questions asked.

Will I get my security deposit back at the end?

"Of course you will" says the owner, smiling broadly before jumping into his Porsche Boxter and roaring off for a round of golf. While most owners are honest, there are those that may take advantage of your good nature. Considering the following will help you get your deposit back:

Conduct a thorough check-in. Document any defects in the apartment. Take photos where needed.

Verify the inventory and make sure the property is clean. Get everyone (you, the owner, perhaps the agency) to sign off. Conduct a thorough check-out. If you are to be charged for anything, you need to know in writing what it is.

Ask to see official cost specifications (e.g. receipts, invoices, quotes). The owner should be able to justify all deductions.Your security deposit should be returned quickly.

If the owner is waiting on a repair to be able to detail the cost exactly, then ask for the undisputed portion of the deposit to be returned in the meantime. Although many contracts state that two months may elapse before the deposit needs returning - two weeks is more realistic if there are no issues.

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