Renter or not, you want to feel at home in your residence. This includes, for many, the addition of decorative elements that help personalize a residence. 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 typically specifies which alterations you are permitted to make and which require an owner’s permission. However, if you are unclear, you could unintentionally make adjustments that cause a reduction in your security deposit.
The lines between what is permitted and what is not must be understood. Learn how to avoid losing your security deposit by making careful design decisions and avoiding repair fees.
Causing Damage to the Property
Because of the damage caused by renters’ decorating preferences, landlords frequently withhold security deposits. Remember, the damage must be severe enough to require repairs. For instance, if you mounted heavy artwork or shelves on the walls that left large holes, used adhesives that damaged paint or wallpaper, or made other changes to the property that resulted in physical damage, the landlord may deduct the cost of repairs from your security deposit.
The amount of the deduction will depend on the degree 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. In this case, your landlord may use your security deposit to cover the cost of restoring the property to its original condition.
One of the most frequently asked questions by renters is whether or not they are permitted to paint the interior of their rental home. 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, prior to picking up a paintbrush, you must first review your lease or communicate with your landlord. 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. What was and wasn’t permitted for decor would have been specified in your lease conditions. Many tenants fail to take into account the possible wall deterioration brought on by mounting framed art, televisions, or other home accents. The cost of repairs rises as the damage gets worse, and even a few nail holes in a wall might lower the amount of the security deposit that is reimbursed.
To avoid losing your security deposit, you have to plan your decor with the end result in mind. You might hang items on the walls without using nails or by using nail-free hangers. 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
During a tenancy, a rental property typically experiences wear and tear. However, if your decorations or furniture cause excessive damage, such as heavy furniture that damages the floors, or if you fail to maintain the property, the landlord may take a portion of your deposit to pay for necessary repairs or replacements.
To prevent floor damage, it is advisable to move heavy furniture with assistance and to position protective material underneath, such as 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.
If your decor choices or general living practices leave the property in a state of disrepair or excessive filthiness beyond normal wear and tear, your landlord may use a portion of your security deposit to cover cleaning costs.
When renting a home, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll eventually move out, therefore when decorating, keep in mind that you’ll need to return the house or apartment to its original condition. Your chances of receiving your entire security deposit increase the less restoration work that is necessary.
As a tenant, you should thoroughly examine your lease agreement and, if necessary, your landlord’s justifications for retaining your security deposit. You have the right to challenge the deductions in court if you believe they are unlawful or violate local laws. 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. It is also advisable to communicate with your landlord in order to comprehend their reasoning and, if possible, find a resolution.
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Originally Published on September 10, 2021
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