At the time of the rental of a property, the owner very often requires the tenant to give him a deposit check in anticipation of possible degradation in the use of the property. Its amount is limited, and can not exceed 2 months rent excluding charges when the rented property is furnished. He is entitled to cash the sum upon signature of the contract provided return it as soon as the inventory shows no degradation. Nevertheless, it retains the possibility of withholding certain amounts necessary for the restoration of the housing as long as it justifies the expenditure by an invoice or other written proof.
The owner must be rigorous when returning the deposit: indeed, he may be required to pay late penalties if he does not return to the tenant in time.
Definition of the deposit check or security deposit
The home rental bail check, in the current vocabulary, is used instead of the legal concept of security deposit. When the landlord and tenant agree on the terms of the lease, they may provide for the payment of an amount advanced by the tenant to cover the damage.
The real definition of a surety, often requested also when a residential lease is concluded, is the person who carries out the act of surety, who undertakes to take the place of the defaulter who can no longer pay his bills. rents.
The security deposit is not required even if it is requested in most rental agreements. If the owner requires this payment, he must necessarily mention the amount and the payment in the lease. If the tenant pays cash, he may demand a receipt from his lessor, to keep preciously.
Finally, a deposit check or security deposit is prohibited if the rent is payable in advance of more than two months, as in the case of quarterly rents.
For the duration of the lease, the owner keeps the sum thus paid, directly by the tenant or by an organization such as Action Logement under the Loca-Pass scheme
When can the owner cash the deposit check?
Under a conventional lease, the security deposit is paid at the time of signing the lease and can be cashed at that time, even if the entry into the premises is done later by the tenant.
However, it is forbidden to cash the deposit check before the signing of the lease. The practice of booking checks is illegal.
In seasonal leases, the landlord does not necessarily cash the deposit check and returns it or tears it after the holidays. However, the seasonal rental bill remains an important document that must be established by the owner of the property on seasonal lease.
What is the maximum amount of the deposit check?
The amount of the deposit is provided by law:
- one month rent excluding charges for empty rental contracts
- two months rent excluding charges for furnished rental contracts since the law for access to housing and a renovated housing called ALUR law of 24 March 2014.
Unlike the amount of rent and charges, the amount of the security deposit does not change for the duration of the lease and is not indexed.
Withholding of part or all of the deposit: when is it possible?
The deposit must be returned within one month after the return of the keys to the housing if the inventory of places of exit is in accordance with the inventory of places of entry. This period is extended to two months if the inventory of places of exit shows degradations. The tenant can give the keys directly to the owner or his manager or send them by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt.
For leases entered or renewed tacitly before March 27, 2014 and the entry into force of the Alur Act, the return period of the deposit or the deposit check is two months.
The owner can deduct several amounts of the deposit:
- amount of rent overdue
- amount of rental charges late
- amount of rental repairs paid by the owner and not yet reimbursed by the tenant
- amount of the repairs following the deteriorations found in the inventory of places of exit.
Each sum must be justified by an invoice, an estimate, a copy of a reminder letter, photos, the comparison of the state of the places of entry and exit… A grid of dilapidation can apply according to the duration of tenancy of the tenant: a family stayed 10 years in an apartment must not leave new paintings. The dilapidation takes into account the wear and normal use of the property. Models of aging grids can be requested from the National Agency for Housing Information (ANIL).
In a condominium building, the owner can keep up to 20% of the security deposit pending approval of the accounts at the next general meeting. He then has one month to carry out the calculations of charges attributable to his former tenant and return the balance of the deposit.
Deposit not returned: what possible disputes?
Time runs against the owner: in the absence of restitution within the legal deadlines, the landlord must pay 10% of the amount of the monthly rent each month of delay. For leases entered prior to March 27, 2014, the amount yielded interest at the legal rate. Only exception: if the tenant has not given his new address to the owner, late interest does not play.
In the absence of spontaneous restitution, the tenant puts in residence the owner to restore him his deposit of guarantee by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. In the event of a negative answer or in the absence of a response, he may refer the matter to the departmental Conciliation Commission. If no amicable agreement can be found, the tenant must seize the judge of proximity if the dispute is lower than 4000 euros or the court of jurisdiction if the dispute relates to a sum higher than 4000 euros.