What happens if the damage claim exceeds the security deposit

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When a tenant is moving out of a tenancy, the landlord has to calculate if there are any claims towards the tenant for refurbishment, repairs, damages or defects. But what if this claim exceeds the security deposit?

What the landlord can charge the tenant for

The landlord is entitled to charge the tenant for the full amount of repairs of damages that are caused by the tenant, and also for defects that are included in the tenant’s maintenance obligation. Initially, this claim, as well as claims for refurbishment, will be withdrawn from and often covered by the security deposit.

Although, if the claim exceeds the security deposit, it results in the tenant owing the landlord money. This is due to the fact that the security deposit is not a limit of the amount, the landlord is allowed to charge the tenant. In theory, there is no such limit, as the tenant is liable to replace all damages, that the tenant caused.

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What is a security deposit’s purpose?

The total claim, that the landlord may have, is independent of the security deposit – meaning that the amount of the deposit is meaningless in this context. That is because the purpose of a security deposit is to make sure that the landlord is able to get his expenses for refurbishing the tenancy and repairs of any damages covered. Therefore, a security deposit is actually the tenant’s money, that the landlord has in his or her possession, in case that the tenant does not leave the tenancy in the condition stated in the lease.

When is the landlord allowed to claim more than the security deposit?

It is not regulated by law, the exact moment that the landlord has to return any surplus of the deposit. Neither is it regulated when the landlord has to put forward any claims of payment that exceeds the deposit. But it is common practice that the landlord has around four to six weeks to return the deposit or put forward any claims exceeding the deposit.

With that being said, it is not illegal for the landlord to exceed this “deadline” of four to six weeks. The landlord is not able to send the final moving out statement to the tenant before he has gotten invoices from craftsmen, painters, etc. If there are extensive damages to the tenancy, the repairs and invoices can take a while.

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Always check the final moving out report

Although the claim for damages may be beyond the amount of the security deposit and may still be legitimate, it is always a good idea to assess the moving out statement with a critical eye. Be aware that the tenant is never obligated to pay for refurbishment in the tenancy, that will leave the tenancy in a better condition than it was in when moving in.  If the amount charged exceeds what can be expected for “normal refurbishment”, you may be entitled to a partial refund.

When the invoice itself is unfair

It is also possible, that the landlord has chosen a firm to perform the repairs, that charge an unfair price for their work. In this case, it may also be possible to get the bill impaired to a fair price. This can be difficult to assess on your own, without any knowledge about the industry, and therefore it can be a big advantage to get a professional to take a look at the final bill from the landlord.

Why should you get help from DIGURA?

Every month, we help thousands of tenants both via our membership solution and our case processing. When we process the cases, we achieve a positive result for the tenants in 98% of the cases. We are here to help you who are potentially being deceived by your landlord, and you who actually want to keep the money you are entitled to.

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Get legal advice and avoid being deceived

The above is to be seen as a general guidance. We always recommend that you contact us to ensure that you get the proper necessary legal advice that is relevant for your specific case.

You can get help with this problem but also any other matters you may have. Unfortunately, we see many tenants that are being deceived. Often, they miss out on a lot of money – anything from a couple thousands to 30-40,000 DKK. Imagine what else you could spend the money on.

Let us help you

At DIGURA we are always available and easy to reach, you have your own legal advisor, and best of all, you only pay if we win your case. Therefore, it is risk free for you to get help from us.

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