Long term contracts are unlikely to be given with house share arrangements for several very good reasons, but that’s another topic and a thorny one at that. Some owners may choose to provide cleaning services and other other benefits but it’s largely down to ‘you get what you pay for‘.
Here are the principals I adhere to myself when renting a room, considered usual for most decent landlords. You cannot consider them in any way a ‘contract’ unless your landlord specifically states this. It’s simply booking a room for a given period of time (please don’t ask for a year, we cannot do it and it’s unlikely others will!). If you need an empadron check with your landlord before moving in.
On arrival, your booking is subject to a trial period of 2 weeks. If you are unable to get on with other people in the house, you will be asked to find elsewhere. Reasonable time is always allowed for this rare event, provided that the reasons are not extreme, for example theft or aggression.
1 months rent is the usual security deposit. If no damages are found when you leave, the deposit is refunded 1 week after your official leaving date. Invoices confirming your expected leaving date are available when you move in. If you need your deposit refunded on the day of leaving you must arrange to have your room inspected 1 week before leaving and again on the day the deposit is returned.
Official Leaving Date
An example is easiest:
You take the room for 2 months on the 1st Jan so your official leaving date is 1st Mar. Your deposit would be returned 8th Mar, all being well. Remember that unless you discuss this, someone may well arrive to take your room 1st Mar
- You decide to stay longer – your new date is 1 month from the day you eventually give notice, unless other arrangement have been made
- If you decide to move in with your mate 2 weeks into the booking, your leaving date is still 1st Mar. You will have paid for Jan but Feb will be deducted from your deposit, ie no refund.
- You get an apartment mid Feb and leave without notice. In this scenario you will have already paid for February so your deposit will be returned 8th Mar, 1 week after your official leaving date. If for some reason you didn’t pay Feb, your deposit now covers that.
- As above, non paid rent for the booked period
- Obviously any damages, including things like nails in walls to hang pictures, damaged/dirty bed linen.
- Pillows, duvets, towels and bed linen are not provided. In practice, tenants usually leave behind what’s there and there will be a set in your room. If you change these things and take them with you when you go, you must replace them with items of the same quality if you have not kept the originals.
- If you have unknowingly stained the mattress (people often lie on the bed while waiting for laundry without the proper mattress protection) you must get the mattress cleaned before inspection day otherwise the cost of cleaning it will be deducted. Sweat and sun tan oil are very difficult stains to remove. If it’s stained beyond cleaning the replacement costs will also be deducted from your deposit.
- If you have painted your room (with permission I hope) you must return it to its original color before inspection day.
- Smoking (It’s a biggie!) If you have smoked in your room your deposit will be forfeit. There are no exceptions. The room has to be repainted, all bedding replaced etc.. It may be nothing to you but to a non smoker it’s huge!
Please remember that timescales on deposit refunds 99 time out of a 100 can be sorted to suit both parties if discussed well in advance. Problems arise when someone thinks, wrongly, that they are due a certain amount and that’s not the case.
So read before you arrive and you can avoid any pitfalls. Clean, tidy and as it was, with the booking term completed, there will be no worries.
Again, these are my personal methods of ensuring no misunderstandings and of course, your co-living situation may be different. That said, I hope it’s given you some pitfalls to avoid and ask any questions BEFORE you move in, not on the day you realise you need your deposit back!