This security deposit must be distinguished from the “surety” which is the person who will stand surety in the event of unpaid rents, if the security deposit does not cover the sums remaining due to the lessor.
The security deposit is a sum of money paid when entering the premises in anticipation of unpaid rents or work to be carried out when the tenant leaves.
The amount of the guarantee was limited by the law of February 9, 2008 to the equivalent ofone month's rent (without charges).
The security deposit is prohibited if the rent is payable in advance for a period exceeding 2 months (rent paid by quarters).
If the tenant pays in cash, the landlord has the obligation to give him a receipt.
Refund of the security deposit
From the closing of the sales, the inventory of fixtures and the return of the keys, the owner must return the security deposit within a maximum period of:
- 1 month, if the tenant and the owner do not dispute the inventory of fixtures
- 2 months, if they disagree
The period starts from the handing over of the keys by the tenant to the owner. This delivery can be made by hand, or by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt.
It is advisable to return the keys only after having obtained the inventory of fixtures of the exit, even if it means to dispute it later.
If the owner refuses to make an inventory of fixtures, the tenant will have to put it in default, by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt.
Withholding of the security deposit by the owner
The security deposit is used to guarantee the owner of the sums remaining due by the tenant.
The guarantee may be reduced by the sums due by the tenant (in the event of non-payment of rents and charges due).
However, any deductions must be justified. The owner must send the tenant all the documents attesting to the validity of the withholding (the inventory of places of entry and exit from the premises, the bailiff's report, invoices for the work, etc.).
The landlord cannot require the tenant to make communication to refurbish the accommodation in exchange for the refund of the security deposit.
The tenant is only required to work incumbent upon him and with regard to normal wear and tear of the housing.
Claiming the security deposit by the tenant
If, at the end of the legal period of 2 months, the owner does not reimburse the security deposit, the tenant must give him formal notice to do so by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt.
At the end of these 2 months, the outstanding balance will automatically produce legal interest for the benefit of the tenant. The security deposit will be increased by an amount equal to 10% of the rent.
The tenant at 5 years to act beyond, his action is prescribed.
In the event of refusal or lack of response, the tenant may apply to the district court for the place where the accommodation is located (local courts no longer exist since January 1, 2017)
To note :
In case of difficulties, the security deposit can be paid by a third party:
- Housing action (it is the employer's 1%)
- The loca-pass
The amount of the security deposit cannot be revised during the lease and must only be paid once, when entering the premises.
It is necessary to be particularly vigilant on the inventory of the premises, which can be made by bailiff's report, because this will be the determining element of proof in the event of a dispute.