I have never moved out of a property where I have successfully gotten my deposit money back. Now and then the landlord has a story made up of the reason why I cannot be refunded. In many instances I let go because it’s emotionally draining to keep calling with no results.
Many at times we lose out on deposits because we do not adhere to the clauses in the rental agreements which we have signed. That agreement is a legal document and if you sign it, it means you agree with all that is it. Below are some of the terms that you should be looking out before signing your rental contract or you should be reviewing if you are thinking of exiting your current lease agreement:
- Know what your responsibilities are and that of the landlord . We were shocked to realize that it was our responsibility to replace the geyser element after a few days of showering in cold water.
- Watch out for rental escalation clauses. How much is your rental going to increase every year? Will you be able to afford the increases? Is it normal or is it above inflation?
- Know how many months notice you have to give your landlord before moving out of the property. Anything less than the required months would generally result in you paying rent for the month you are moving out and worse case forfeit your deposit in addition to the unpleasant departure.
- If you are going into a joint tenancy agreement, choose a good flat mate especially if the agreement is in your name. Know that if you sign the agreement and your flat mate decides to back out, you will have to folk up the full rent or find a replacement tenant if its a joint agreement.
- Take an inventory list of all the things you found in the flat and the damage you found and communicate this to your landlord/agent. This will ensure that when you move out, you do not get charge for damages you found to the property before moving in.
- Get a statement of the utility bills when you move in so that you are not liable for the old bills at the municipality. This is an issue when the landlord does not pay rates and taxes and you sometimes get your water and electricity disconnected by municipality.
And most importantly try and negotiate your rent. If you can, rather get a direct landlord instead of going through an agent because agent can be a driver of rent escalation. Sometimes landlord take their chances with their rent and so if you can tell them you found a similar property just at a lower price, they might consider reducing the monthly rentals.
Finally, do not rent an expensive apartment just because everyone else is, rent in the area that you can afford. There are other bills to take care other than rent.