You want to feel comfortable in your living space as a renter. For many, this involves adding decorative elements that help to individualize a residence. However, if you rent, the amount of your security deposit you receive back may be considerably impacted by the décor decisions you make.
Typically, your lease specifies which alterations are permitted and which require permission from your landlord. However, if you are unclear, you could unintentionally make adjustments that cause a reduction in your security deposit.
It is essential to be aware of what is permitted and what is prohibited. Discover how to avoid losing your security deposit by choosing tasteful design and avoiding repair fees.
Causing Damage to the Property
Because of the damage caused by renters’ decorating preferences, landlords frequently withhold security deposits. It’s crucial to remember that there must be enough damage to warrant 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 deduction will be proportional to the extent of the damage. To prevent conflicts over security deposit deductions, it is essential to carefully research your lease agreement and comprehend the specifications for decorating choices and property maintenance.
Failure to Restore the Original Condition
Assume that the rental contract required you to return the property to its original state at the end of the lease, and you neglected to do so after making decor-related alterations. In that situation, your landlord may utilize your security deposit to pay for the costs associated with restoring the property to its initial condition.
The ability to paint the interior of a rental home is one of the most commonly asked questions by renters. Given that painting a room or a whole house a different color is a simple way to add your own style, it makes sense why this is a common issue among renters.
However, prior to picking up a paintbrush, you must first consult your lease agreement or communicate with your landlord. Many leases stipulate that the property must be returned in its original condition, including the wall color.
Violating the Lease Terms
If the restrictions of your lease agreement regarding decor choices were followed without the landlord’s prior approval (e.g., no painting or nailing things to the wall), the security deposit may be withheld as a result. What was and wasn’t permitted in terms of decoration would have been stated in your lease agreement. Many tenants do not consider the potential wall damage caused by mounting framed artwork, televisions, and other wall-mounted décor items. Even a few nail holes in a wall can result in a reduction of the security deposit, and the cost of restorations rises in proportion to the extent of the damage.
To avoid losing your deposit, it is crucial to plan your decor with the final result in mind. You might hang items on the walls without using nails or by using nail-free hangers. Atop an accent table or cabinet, large pieces of artwork or televisions will function just as well and won’t cause any damage to the walls.
Excessive Wear and Tear
It is normal for rental properties to experience wear and tear during occupancy. However, if your choice of décor causes excessive damage, such as heavy 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.
To prevent floor damage, it is advisable to enlist assistance when moving heavier furniture and to use protective material, such as a blanket or moving pad, underneath. If you move your furniture around frequently, think about spending money on felt cushioning for the bottom to make the process easier and less likely to result in damage.
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. As a result, decorating must be done with the understanding that you’ll need to return the home or apartment to its original state. You’re more likely to receive your entire security deposit refunded if there isn’t much restoration work needed.
As a renter, pay close attention to your lease and, if necessary, the explanations provided by your landlord for keeping your security deposit. You have the right to challenge the deductions in court if you believe they are unlawful or violate local laws. If you want to challenge the deductions, you may be able to do so by providing evidence of the property’s condition at the time of your move in and out. 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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