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. However, if you are a renter, your decorating decisions can have a significant impact on how much of your security deposit you get returned.
Your lease agreement typically specifies which changes you may make without the landlord’s consent and which ones do. 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. Learn how to avoid losing your security deposit by making intelligent design decisions and avoiding costly repairs.
Causing Damage to the Property
Landlords frequently deduct security deposits because of tenant-caused damage to the interior design. Remember, the damage must be severe enough to require repairs. For instance, the landlord may withhold the cost of repairs from your security deposit 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 total amount of the deduction will depend on how much damage there is. To prevent disagreements regarding the deductions from your security deposit, it is essential to carefully check your lease agreement and comprehend the specifications for design choices and property maintenance.
Failure to Restore the Original Condition
Suppose you made changes to the decor and your lease agreement said you were responsible for restoring the property to its former state at the end of the lease. The costs involved in restoring the property to its initial condition could then be covered by your security deposit, according to your landlord.
Whether tenants can paint the interior of their rental home is one of the most commonly asked questions by renters. It is understandable that this is a common concern, as altering the paint color is a simple way to personalize a room or a whole house.
However, you must first check your lease agreement or contact your landlord before picking up the brush. The condition of the home must be returned in its original state, including the wall color, according to many leases.
Violating the Lease Terms
If your lease agreement specified certain decor restrictions (such as no painting or nailing of items to the walls) and you violated them without your landlord’s permission, this could be justification for withholding the security deposit. Your lease provisions would have specified what was and was not permitted in terms of interior design. A lot of renters fail to take into account the possible wall damage brought on by installing framed art, televisions, or other home decor items. Even a few nail holes in a wall can reduce the amount of the security deposit returned, and the cost of restorations rises as the extent of the damage increases.
To avoid losing your security deposit, you have to plan your decor with the end result in mind. You could choose hangers without nails or refrain from mounting anything on the walls. Large televisions or pieces of artwork can function just as well on top of an accent table or cabinet and won’t do any damage to the walls.
Excessive Wear and Tear
It is normal for a rental property to experience wear and strain over the course of a tenancy. 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. If you frequently rearrange your furniture, consider investing in felt cushioning for the bottom to make rearranging your decor easier and less likely to cause wear and tear.
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 are more likely to receive your entire security deposit back the less restoration work is necessary.
Check your lease agreement and, if necessary, your landlord’s justifications for keeping your security deposit very carefully as a tenant. If you believe the deductions are unjustified or do not comply with local laws, you can legally contest them. Documenting the property’s condition at the time of your move in and out will help your case if you want to challenge the deductions. Talking with your landlord will help you understand their perspective and perhaps come to a resolution.
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Originally Published on September 10, 2021
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