In Singapore, security deposit is a refundable deposit that the tenant pays to their landlord before they move into a property. As long as the tenant abides by the terms of their lease, this deposit should be returned without interest to the tenant when their lease expired.
The tenant usually pays a security deposit of one month’s rent for every year of lease. However, the landlord might demand more if they have very expensive furnishings.
Then, you might have heard of landlord confiscating partial or even the whole security deposit, haven’t you? So, how do you protect your security deposit? In order to know how to protect, you should know what can be deducted from your security deposit first.
- Nonpayment of rent
- Damage to the apartment in excess of normal wear and tear
- Cleaning costs to restore the unit to the condition it was in at the beginning of tenancy
- Unpaid utility bills
Now you know the rules, so take necessary measures to protect your security deposit.
1) Always pay your rent in full by the due date, so that your security deposit isn’t used to cover any unpaid rent or late fees.
2) Make sure you have the inventory checklist done before you move in. This will help you to challenge any deductions made by your landlord at the end of the lease, by showing that the damage already existed when you moved into your home. Landlords are not supposed to deduct the cost of addressing “normal wear and tear” from your deposit under any circumstances.
3) Take care of your rental home as if it belonged to you. It’s a lot easier to keep your home in good shape than it is to clean and make repairs after months or years of neglect.
4) One way to boost your chances of getting your whole security deposit back is to hire a professional cleaning service to do a “move-out” cleaning. This may cost you some money, but your landlord might be more inclined to return your entire deposit.
5) You will always never be able to pay the last utility bills, so be prepared to be deducted from your security deposit. However, you can get your landlord to agree on an amount first by using the previous months’ utility bills as a reference.
Once you move out, your landlord has 14 days (depends on how many days it was stated on the agreement) to return your deposit back to you. Make sure that your landlord knows where to mail your cheque, or knows how to deposit into your bank account.
However, if your landlord refuses to return your security deposit or has made inappropriate deductions, you can resolve through mediation at Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) or Singapore Mediation Center (SMC).
I wrote this article, and I hope you find it useful.