Lease deposits: are they legal when renting an apartment or house?

Lease deposits: are they legal when renting an apartment or house?
Lease deposits: are they legal when renting an apartment or house?

You can file a complaint with your city or municipality’s housing office if a landlord wants to impose deposits that are not permitted by law.

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When renting an apartment or house, the owner or landlord will probably ask you for a deposit. These monies are usually justified to cover damages or outstanding debts that may be associated with the tenant.

But are they legal?

As explained by the president of FedelonjasMario Ramírez, the Law 820 of 2002in its article 16, details that it is prohibited for lessors to collect deposits or impose clauses in order to guarantee compliance with the contract by the lessee.

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“This implies that deposits cannot be required in case of non-payment of rent or other obligations by the tenant, nor can another document that has the same purpose be signed,” he specifies.

However, it specifies that the only deposit that is permitted and regulated by law (article 15 of the Law 820 of 2003) is the one whose purpose is to guarantee the payment of public services once the contract has been finalized.

For this last case, the deposit may never exceed the value of the public services corresponding to the fixed charge, the charge for connection contributions or the charge per consumption unit that corresponds to two consecutive billing periods (this as established in article 18 of Law 689 of 2001).

“The fixed charge per unit of consumption will be established by the average of the last three (3) billing periods, increased by fifty percent (50%),” explains Ramírez, detailing that these cannot be classified as “deposit “lease”, since its purpose and characteristics are different.

What happens if a rental deposit is required?

If a landlord requires a rental deposit as a requirement to sign a contract, or exceeds the amounts of the deposit intended for public services described above, a citizen can file a complaint with the District Habitat Secretariat (or the office that acts in its place). city ​​or municipality), since its roles include inspection, control and surveillance in this matter.

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