When renting, the landlord may ask the tenant to pay a security deposit. The amount of the deposit may be equal to one or two months’ rent. This depends on the type of accommodation. This deposit is not mandatory unless it is mentioned in the rental agreement. In principle, it must be returned to the tenant upon departure. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and discover the maximum time limit for the return of this security deposit.
The deadline for returning the security deposit according to the date of signature
For a rental agreement signed before March 27, 2014, the owner has a maximum of two months to return the security deposit to the tenant. This is an effective deadline as soon as the keys are handed over by the latter.
If it is a lease contract from March 27, 2014, the security deposit must be returned within a maximum period of one month, provided that the inventory of fixtures at the exit is the same as at the entrance. However, if there is a small difference in the inventory of fixtures, the lessor has two months to return this security deposit to the tenant.
Withholding the security deposit
According to the law, the landlord has the right to deduct from the security deposit the unpaid charges and rents, the damages, and the rental works. However, the landlord must provide evidence to support this. This can be a letter claiming unpaid rent, a bailiff’s report, invoices, photos, an inventory of fixtures on arrival and departure, or an estimate. This deduction amounts to approximately 20% of the security deposit. The lessor has a period of one month to regularize this account and return the remainder to the tenant after the approval of the building’s accounts.
How to find an agreement?
If things don’t work out, the tenant must refer the matter to the departmental conciliation commission. There is one in each department at the prefecture. It is made up of representatives of landlords’ organizations and tenants’ organizations. It deals with various rental disputes, particularly those relating to the security deposit. It tries to reconcile the parties and, if not, gives an opinion within two months of the referral. This commission can be seized free of charge by the owner or tenant.
It is important to know that the tenant and the owner do not always agree on the amount to be returned but that they usually reach an amicable agreement. If, in spite of this approach, they do not reach an agreement, they will have to refer the matter to the judge in charge of protection disputes, which is located in the proximity division of the judicial court of the place where the building is located, and send him the opinion of the Commission.
The different recourses in case of delay of restitution of the security deposit
In the case of a late return of the security deposit, the tenant must send a formal notice with acknowledgment of receipt to the landlord. After that, if the latter refuses to pay the security deposit, the tenant is entitled to refer the matter to the departmental conciliation commission. The case will be brought before a judge if this procedure does not succeed.
Interest will be charged for late payment of the security deposit. In the case of contracts signed before March 27, 2014, a legal rate is to be applied. An increase of 10% of the monthly rent is applicable if it is a lease since that date. However, this will not take place if the tenant has not informed the landlord of their new address.
Please note that the landlord who received the security deposit must return it to the tenant. However, if the landlord leaves, an intermediary is appointed to return the deposit to the tenant. If the landlord dies, the security deposit returns to his heirs. If the accommodation has been sold to a third party during the rental period, the latter is responsible for returning the security deposit.
Sound off in the comments section below and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about deposits.