What is a deposit?
A rental deposit is intended to cover the repairs of any damage caused to the apartment over the prescribed rental period. It cannot be used to reclaim any other money still owed by the tenant (such as unpaid rent or outstanding utility bills) unless both landlord and tenant have agreed this in advance in writing.
What is classed as damage?
Regular wear and tear in an accommodation is not considered damage. The tenant is typically responsible for indoor paintwork and small and inexpensive maintenance (such as replacing a broken shower head). However, landlords are required to take care of any other specialist maintenance to the interior or exterior of a property. The cost of such maintenance is already included in the rent. If a tenant encounters maintenance problems during their stay, they must notify their landlord immediately, preferably in writing.
Tenants are not permitted to make significant alterations to an accommodation without written permission from the landlord – such changes could be classed as damage and the tenant would be expected to incur the cost of returning the accommodation to its original condition.
What to do when moving in
Upon renting an accommodation, the tenant should receive a written record of its existing condition (opnamestaat). This record is only binding if both the landlord and the tenant sign it. Without such a written record, the accommodation is assumed to be in good condition. If the accommodation is furnished, the tenant should also receive an itemised inventory list. If no such list is provided, they should request one. If they still do not receive a list, the tenant should make their own, preferably with photographic proof, and send a copy to the landlord.
What happens when moving out?
When a tenant provides notice to leave an accommodation, they should also request a pre-inspection. This pre-inspection preferably takes place a few weeks before the tenants departs, allowing them time to complete any necessary repairs. During this pre-inspection the landlord and the tenant check the condition of the accommodation based upon the initial written record (opnamestaat) and the itemised inventory list (if the apartment was furnished). A written record is made and signed by both landlord and tenant, listing any repairs for which the tenant is still responsible. This includes cleaning the apartment.
At the end of the rental period, usually on the day that the tenant vacates and hands back the keys, there is a final inspection. Here, the landlord can check if the issues mentioned in the pre-inspection report have been taken care of. Both parties sign the final report. If during this inspection any of the maintenance problems listed in the pre-inspection report still remain, and are legally the tenant’s responsibility, the cost of these repairs can be deducted from the deposit. Any repairs for which the landlord is legally responsible must be paid for by the landlord. If no maintenance issues remain, the deposit must be returned in full.
This content was provided by Wijksteunpunt Wonen. If you require more information or are involved in a dispute between tenant and landlord that may affect the return of a deposit, Wijksteunpunt Wonen offers professional assistance and advice, free of charge.