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Ensuring the Full Refund of Your Damage Deposit

Tips for Tenants to Ensure the Full Refund of Your Damage Deposit

Here are some tips to ensure that your Damage Deposit is refunded in full at the end of your lease . . .

The basic rule of thumb is . . . 

Leave the property in the condition you found it and pay your rental on time and your deposit will be refunded.

Put yourself in the position of the Landlord and treat the property as your own and you should have no issues.

The damage deposit is the landlord's security against any damage you may do to the property during the term of your lease – and, in terms of our lease agreement, may also be used to offset any outstanding rental costs and fees that are due.

If you adhere to the terms and conditions of your lease and fulfill your lease obligations, then should be no reason to be concerned about deductions from your damage deposit.

The nature of most damage deposit disputes relate to damage to the property that the landlord, or rental agent, alleges arose during the course of the lease – while the tenant insists the issue already existed.

The Rental Housing Act requires an 'ingoing inspection', with the purpose of ensuring that the state of the property at the start of the lease is fully documented. This 'Ingoing Inspection Report' can then be referred to at the end of the lease to ascertain changes to the state of the property. Make sure that all defects are noted during this inspection – even the small ones.  Pay special attention to any issues with carpet stains, marks on walls, cracked tiles, the condition of the garden and pool, counter tops, and sanitary-ware – and take photo’s for reference.

Our rental agent will conduct the ingoing inspection with you. There are often some less obvious matters that are missed on the ingoing inspection - some things naturally only get noticed. or become apparent when you actually live in the property. For this reason, in terms of our lease agreement, you have 7 days in which to report any matters that you become aware of in the first week of  your lease that are not noted on the Ingoing Inspection Report. Make sure that you report all such matters - including pics - to your Rental Agent.

Once the report has been completed be sure to sign it off.  This same inspection process is repeated by landlord (or his agent) and the tenant at the end of the lease once the tenant moves out – so any new issues will be identified.

Our lease agreement puts the responsibility of maintaining the property squarely on your shoulders as the tenant - in particular, all breakages or damage, with the exception only of “fair wear and tear”.  If something breaks during a lease you are liable - unless it can be proved that the item failed or broke due to wear due to normal use and there is no negligence or abuse.

It you puts nails or picture hangers on a wall these have to be removed and the wall properly filled and painted to match the other walls.  Often this means repainting the entire room.

Our lease also requires that carpets are professionally cleaned at the end of the lease.

We find that gardens are often a big issue.  You are responsible for maintaining and watering the garden during the lease.Dead plants and grass need to be replaced at the your cost if it is evident the garden was not cared for.

It's important that if damage of any nature arises during a lease you report this immediately to your agent so that it can be dealt with.  If you fail to report this and further damage occurs, the secondary damage could also be for the tenants’ account.