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Everything you've always wanted to know about your deposit

Kristin Eyschen

(but were too shy to ask)

The safety deposit, also known as the damage deposit, is one of those things that you will in nearly any rental deal. It’s common to have to pay a deposit for any apartment that you rent whether it’s one of those short rentals (a long weekend, for example) or for a really long time. Which leads us to Question #1…

Question #1 : What is a deposit?

A deposit is money that you give your landlord upfront. It is a way of buying trust. The landlord keeps the money as a way to guarantee that you’ll stick to your agreement: that you pay your rent on time and that you don’t leave before your check-out date. If you do, then the landlord returns the money to you.The deposit is also frequently used to cover for any damage that happens to the property while you’re renting it. So in this way, it has a secondary function as an insurance. Landlords know that things break, and they expect some wear and tear to happen, but they need the house to be just as good for the next tenant as it was for you. So anything that needs to be fixed, repaired, repainted or bought after your stay will probably be deduced from your deposit.

Question #2 : When do I pay the deposit?

With Uniplaces, you pay the deposit on the day of your check-in. You can either bring it in cash to the landlord or transfer the money to them – just bring a proof of transfer (like a printed receipt) with you.

Question #3 : When do I get the deposit back?

You typically get the deposit after your check-out date. Landlords will go back to the apartment to have a look around, try the appliances and see if everything works. If the place is exactly as it was when you moved in, and if you move-out on the day that you agreed on, you’ll find your deposit returned to you promptly.

Question #4 : Who keeps the money? (and what is a deposit scheme?)

This one depends on who you’re renting from and where you’re renting in. For example: if you’re renting a student apartment in Portugal or Spain, it’s most likely that the landlord will keep the deposit themselves between check-in and check-out dates.

In England (and Wales!), however, all landlords must put deposits into a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This is after laws that were passed in 2004, took effect in 2007, and then ammended in 2011-2012. It works like this: after you pay your deposit, the landlord puts the deposit into a company that the government has allowed to manage these deposit schemes. The landlord has 30 days to give you the details of the Deposit scheme that they are using. At the end of the tenancy, if no problems arise, the deposit gets quickly paid back to you. If anything comes up, then the company has procedures to mediate between you and the landlord!

Question #5: What if I sign a contract with my landlord?

Most of our landlords don’t require you to sign anything very specific when you move in, and for those rentals it’s our terms and conditions that count. However, the rules laid out in any contract with your landlord that you sign after the booking will be the ones that matter. This applies to pretty much everything, including the deposit. So if you sign a contract which specifically states  how long you have to give notice before you leave to get your deposit back, you really have to give notice. Make sure you read everyything before you sign so you know the exact terms and conditions that you’re renting!

Thanks for reading this post! We hope to see you soon, coming back for more.
Did you enjoy our article about safety deposits and damage deposits? Just drop us a line in the comment section below to let us know you did.
And remember! If you need to find University housing in London, Lisbon, or Madrid – or you know someone that does – you’ll find the student home you’re looking for on http://uniplaces.com.

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