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How to Avoid Forfeiting Your Security Deposit: A Guide to Your Rental Property

Posted by Jayson Ang on July 30, 2023
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Picture this: You’re a tenant, and your lease is up. After months of relentless hunting, you’ve finally found a new home sweet home.

You’ve had countless sleepless nights, pondering the pros and cons of each property. You’ve meticulously packed every item your family has amassed over the years, and you’ve hired a team of movers, cleaners, and handyfolk to ensure a smooth transition.

You’ve gone above and beyond to restore the rental to pristine condition. But then, like a vulture swooping in to claim its prey, the agent or landlord shows up, scrutinizing every nook and cranny.

They demand a hefty cut of your deposit, leaving you feeling violated and utterly hopeless. Or worse yet, they greedily snatch the entire sum, leaving you reeling with shock and despair.

WOW!

Handovers always make me feel uneasy. I’ve had friends who have fallen victim to it, and unfortunately, I have too. It seems like horror stories of owners making outrageous demands and holding deposits hostage are becoming more common. And with ambiguous phrases like “fair wear and tear” and “reasonable use,” it’s a challenge to prevent the owner from sticking you with an unfair bill (seriously, I’m not buying you a brand new aircon). Nobody wants to deal with the headache of hiring a lawyer and dragging the case to Small Claims Tribunals. So, how do we avoid this dreaded scenario?

Discover the 3 techniques to guarantee the safe return of your security deposit with these three savvy suggestions:

1. Schedule Regular Aircon Servicing And Keep Those Receipts!

As a tenant, it’s crucial to note that a majority of landlords emphasize the need to regularly service all air conditioning units in your apartment every three months – that’s four times annually. Nevertheless, failing to schedule these maintenance appointments beforehand can lead to forgetfulness, which may seem harmless at first but could later become a costly mistake. So, be wary – procrastination could ultimately come back to haunt you!

Should any malfunction occur with your air-conditioning system and you fail to provide substantial evidence of regular maintenance as per the contractual agreement, the landlord reserves the right to hold you accountable for any damages and demand remuneration for significant repairs post your tenancy.

Make it a habit to hold onto the receipts every time you have your air-conditioning units serviced. And trust me, it’s crucial to keep them safe as you never know when you’ll need to showcase them to your landlord upon moving out. I learned this lesson the hard way when I had to frantically reach out to every technician who serviced our aircons and beg for electronic copies. A complete nightmare and a colossal waste of time!

2. Carry Out Joint Inspections With Your Landlord And/Or Their Agent

You’ll want to keep this in mind for not just one, but two distinctive moments: the day you first step foot in your new abode and the day you bid it adieu. It’s a common practice to make note of any blemishes, troubles, or imperfections at the beginning of your tenancy. However, it’s imperative that you schedule a final walkthrough with your landlord or their representative after your lease expires. This will prevent them from roaming around the empty space solo, post-departure.

To ensure a smooth and stress-free move-in and move-out process, it is highly recommended to snap some shots of your new abode and have the landlord pen down any pre-existing damages on paper. By doing so, you can avoid any future disputes and have a solid reference to fall back on. It’s crucial to get this done in person to eliminate any miscommunication and establish a mutual understanding of your responsibilities. Trust us, resolving issues over the phone can be a never-ending labyrinth.

3. Source Your Own Repairmen/Cleaning Services

When your lease draws to a close and repairs or maintenance are required, beware! If you opt to leave the responsibility in your landlord’s hands, any expenses for repairs or cleaning will be deducted from your security deposit. Brace yourself, as this gives your landlord free rein to summon an extravagant cleaner or repairman at your expense!

Why not take matters into your own hands and tackle those repairs yourself? You can handpick the contractors of your choice, after a little extra legwork and research. It’s time well spent, as you’ll be certain to snag a fair price. Before the keys are officially handed over, arrange for the landlord or their agent to swing by and identify any lingering issues. This ensures that your full deposit will be promptly returned to you.

As you prepare to bid adieu to your old place, it’s wise to call in the pros for one last sweep. Yes, it may cost a bit more, but it pays off big time in terms of hassle-free moving. Of course, we’re not oblivious to the fact that even if you’ve dotted every i and crossed every t, some landlords can be downright devious, making your life a living hell. If you find yourself in such a predicament, don’t hesitate to take legal action and reclaim what’s rightfully yours.

Should You Buy, Sell or Wait?

If you’re reading this, you must be trying to figure out the best course of action right now: is it the right time to buy or sell?

It’s difficult to give an exact answer since everyone’s situation is unique and what works for one person may not necessarily work for you.

I can bring you a wealth of on-the-ground experience and a data-driven approach to provide clarity and direction. From beginners to experienced investors, our top-down, objective approach will help you on your real estate journey.

I can help you by:

  1. Offering Strategic Real Estate Advice – I can help create a comprehensive plan to guide you through your property journey.
  2. Connecting Your Home with the Perfect Buyers – Through stunning visuals, an effective communication strategy, and an in-depth knowledge of the market, we’ll ensure your home is presented in the best possible way to fulfill your goals.

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