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Furnished flats: how long does it take to return a deposit?

It's customary for roommates to pay a security deposit when they move in, and to get it back at the end of the lease. How quickly can they expect to get it back? Here's how.

All you need to know about the deadline for returning a security deposit in a furnished shared apartment

The deposit, also known as the security deposit, is not compulsory, but may be required by the owner of furnished accommodation. Its return at the end of the lease is strictly regulated.

First of all, what is the purpose of a deposit in a furnished contract?

When signing a furnished shared-tenant lease, the landlord may ask for a security deposit. This sum of money is used to guarantee the proper performance of the tenant's rental obligations (payment of rent, minor repairs, routine maintenance) for the duration of the lease. In other words, if the tenants fail to meet their obligations, the landlord has the option of withholding part or all of the security deposit once the keys have been returned.

How much is the security deposit for furnished shared accommodation?

Since the ALUR law (loi pour l'Accès au Logement et un Urbanisme Rénové), the amount of the security deposit for furnished accommodation is capped at two months' rent in principal, i.e. excluding charges. Payment can be made by bank transfer, cash or cheque.

Please note that the security deposit remains fixed for the duration of the shared-tenancy contract. It cannot be readjusted during the lease term, or when the lease is renewed.

Please note: if the rent is payable in advance, quarterly or over a longer period, the landlord cannot require tenants to pay a security deposit. On the other hand, if the tenants request monthly payment of the rent, the landlord may require a security deposit.

Collective leases:

When all co-tenants sign a single lease which provides for the payment of a security deposit, the contract also sets the amount. The amount due may be paid by a single tenant, or divided between the tenants as agreed between them.

Individual leases :

In the case of an individual lease, the landlord directly specifies the amount due by the tenant concerned.

Good to know: if the co-tenant is experiencing financial difficulties at the time of signing the lease, he or she can request help from a third party to pay the security deposit, such as Action Logement with the Loca-Pass advance, or the Fonds de solidarité pour le logement (FSL), which gives priority to people in precarious situations.

How long does it take to return a deposit on a furnished rental?

The time limit for returning a deposit for a furnished rental varies according to the date the lease contract was signed.

Lease signed before March 27, 2014:

For a lease signed or renewed before March 27, 2014, the return period is one to two months, or even longer depending on what is stipulated within the contract.

Leases signed after March 27, 2014:

For a lease signed or tacitly renewed after March 27, 2014, the return period is equivalent to :

  • one month, if the exit inventory of fixtures complies with the entry inventory of fixtures ;

  • two months, if the outgoing inventory of fixtures reveals discrepancies with the incoming inventory of fixtures, and if any damage has occurred.

The return period begins on the day the keys are handed over to the lessor or his agent, by hand or by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.

Security deposit return period: specificities of individual and collective leases

When it comes to refunding security deposits in furnished shared-tenancy contracts, it's important to differentiate between collective and individual leases.

If the lease is collective

In the case of a shared tenancy with a single lease, the landlord is not obliged to refund the outgoing tenant's share of the security deposit. This obligation only takes effect with the departure of the very last occupant. Outgoing tenants have three options for recovering their security deposit:

  • Contact other residents to find an amicable solution;

  • Be reimbursed by the new tenant;

  • Wait until the end of the lease.

    If the lease is individual

    In the case of a multi-tenant contract, the landlord is subject to the same regulations as for a standard rental contract. As a result, if the outgoing inventory of fixtures is consistent with the incoming inventory of fixtures, the co-tenant recovers his or her full security deposit within one month of leaving.

    Furnished flat-sharing: what happens if the deadline for returning the security deposit has passed?

    If the security deposit is not returned on time, the landlord is obliged to pay penalties to the co-tenants, amounting to 10% of the monthly rent for each month of delay, in addition to the initial amount of the security deposit.

Furnished flat-sharing security deposit: what can be deducted at the end of the lease?

The law allows the owner of furnished accommodation to deduct from the security deposit any sums owed by the co-tenants following occupancy of the property. The amounts deducted most often correspond to :

  • rent arrears ;

  • unpaid charges from the restrictive list set out in decree no. 87-713 of August 26, 1987;

  • damage noted in the inventory of fixtures on departure, unless due to the dilapidated state of the property;

  • non-performance of rental repairs as defined by decree no. 87-712 of August 26, 1987.

    Where applicable, the lessor is required to justify his decision by providing relevant documents such as :

    • unanswered letters complaining of unpaid rent ;

    • invoices and estimates for repairs carried out or to be carried out;

    • inventories of fixtures and fittings on entering and leaving the property, highlighting any differences between the two;

    • before-and-after photos of the premises showing any damage;

    • a bailiff's report.

    Colonies is here for you!

    Are you planning to rent in a shared apartment and would like to know more about the security deposit? Don't hesitate to contact the Colonies team. Our experts will be happy to answer all your questions.

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