Top 11 things to know when returning an apartment for rent

Ahhhhh the moves, what happiness! In addition to the boxes to pack, the furniture to dismantle and reassemble, the friends who let go of you on D-Day and the big cleaning, there is also the stress of the administrative part and ESPECIALLY, the fear of never seeing your precious deposit again. Sometimes (like when you return your TV cabinet with one leg less), it’s justified. Sometimes it’s the scam, and you must not let it happen! Here are a few things to know before returning your accommodation, in order to dodge the tricks.

1. The exit inventory is not mandatory

On the other hand, it is a right for the tenant. So you can demand it. If the owner cannot be present, he can appoint a third party, by giving him power of attorney, to carry out the inventory on his behalf. Otherwise, it can legally be carried out by a bailiff. As a sworn public officer, his document will be binding on both parties, without the possibility of legal action. In this case, the tenant and the owner will have to share the costs of establishing the said exit inventory.

2. What happens if the owner refuses it?

If your landlord refuses to establish your exit inventory for X reasons, note that it is considered that you have returned the rental property in the same condition as when you entered the accommodation. In this way, your landlord cannot withhold any amount from your security deposit: he must give you back your entire deposit. (Source)

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3. If it is established, it is framed by law

An inventory, entry and exit, remains framed by law. Since the ALUR law of 2014, it cannot be written randomly: it must respect all the mandatory information (to be consulted ici). If this is not the case, the document has no legal value.

4. The exit inventory is always free for the tenant

As much as it is common for agency fees to include carrying out the entry inventory, it cannot be the same with the exit inventory. For the latter, no payment can be requested from the tenant. The only situation in which you will have to get your hands on the wallet: if you involve a bailiff, as mentioned in point 1.

5. If you do not agree with the established inventory, do not sign it

Indeed, if you do not agree with the established inventory, do not sign it (whether you are a tenant or an owner)! The document must be approved by both parties, you are within your rights if you disapprove of what is found. The document is then considered invalid since it is “non-contradictory” and loses its legal value. In this case, it is also necessary to call on a bailiff, so that he can carry out the exit inventory himself. This time too, the tenant and the landlord must share the costs.

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6. The lessor has one month to return your deposit

For accommodation rented as a main residence, the deadline is: one month from the return of the keys if there is nothing to declare; two months, if a degradation is indicated on the exit inventory.

7. If he exceeds these deadlines, your landlord must pay you late payment interest

In the event of late return of the security deposit, the lessor owes late payment interest to the tenant: the deposit is increased by 10% of the monthly rent (excluding charges) for each month of delay started.


8. What if he continues to turn a deaf ear?

If, despite everything, your landlord continues to do nothing, put him on notice to return your deposit by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. Still no answer ? You can then initiate an amicable procedure, free of charge, by approaching the departmental conciliation commission, to settle the dispute. If despite all this, nothing happens: you will have to go to the district court of the location of the said accommodation.

9. Yes, a landlord can ask you to pay them extra money if the deposit is not enough

If you have really damaged your apartment, your landlord may ask you to complete the security deposit, which is insufficient to cover the debts. If you refuse to pay the amount requested, the owner can take legal action.

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Picture credits: Topito

10. If your deposit is (partially) retained, the owner must justify it

If a problem is found, the owner does not have to systematically withhold your entire deposit. If work or other renovations are to be done after your departure, and by you, the owner must justify the sum retained with, at least, estimates. If he intends to carry out the work himself, he can produce purchase invoices for the replacement elements.

11. You can’t be charged for dress issues

Logically, the owner does not have the right to use your deposit to carry out small embellishment works, or to replace dilapidated elements. Damage due to wear and tear cannot be your responsibility. According to’article 1730 of the Civil Code, “If an inventory has been made between the lessor and the lessee, the latter must return the thing as he received it, according to this condition, except for what has perished or has been damaged by obsolescence or force majeure. »and according toarticle 1755 of the same code, “None of the deemed rental repairs is the responsibility of the tenants when they are only caused by obsolescence or force majeure. ».

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