Questions for landlords about deposits and fees

freelance writer, Avail

What renters should know about deposits and fees.

Couple looking at paperwork togeather

Deposits and fees can sometimes get tricky if they haven't been discussed thoroughly with your landlord before signing a rental agreement. Knowing all the ins and outs of the security deposit and any additional fees of your rental will make you feel much more at ease. Ask your landlord the following questions:

Is there a Security Deposit?
Security deposits are deposits you get back at the end of your tenancy. Your landlord may take out money from your deposit in order to repair damage. You can ask your landlord if there are specific reasons why he or she wouldn't refund you the full deposit.

In some states, landlords are required to put your security deposit in a separate bank account and give you interest earned on your security deposit. You should look up security deposit laws in your state and ask your landlord what he or she plans to do with your deposit.

You should also ask your landlord, "Are you documenting the current condition of the unit?" Your landlord should be. Ask to view and sign off on the inspection to ensure it's a fair assessment. You should also take photos of the condition in case disputes come up later. If you skip this step, you risk the inspection being inaccurate, which can cost you part of your deposit.

In short, make sure you ask about the terms of your security deposit – if it's refundable, where it's held, if you should expect interest on it and if any portion of it is non-refundable. Security deposits are becoming more uncommon nowadays as many landlords are opting for non-refundable, move-in fees instead.

Is There A Move-In Fee?
Move-in fees are usually nonrefundable. Most landlords use this additional fee to cover the cost of having new tenants (to pay for painting, cleaning, etc.). Ask if there's a move-in fee, what the amount is and if it's nonrefundable. As a general rule, fees are nonrefundable and deposits are refundable.

Asking your landlord questions about the security deposit and additional fees will benefit you in the long run. Find out below how you can pay rent and deposits all online. Continue reading to find out questions to ask your landlord about maintenance.

Check out Avail - the only all-in-one rental software solution for tenants and landlords. You can pay rent online and send your rental application to as many landlords as you want- with no extra work or fees. Thousands of tenants like you use Avail all across the U.S.


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