When renting an apartment, one of the required payments before moving in is a security deposit. These funds are used to offset any damage done to the apartment while the tenant resides there. However, how these funds are applied has always been a bit of a mystery to renters.
Last year, the DC Council approved a series of amendments to the city's Rental Housing Act that, among other things, clarified exactly what can be deducted from renters' security deposits.
Tenants have long been given the cushion of "ordinary wear and tear" to hedge against excessive deductions, with housing providers being required to factor wear and tear in as an allowable state when the tenant moves out. Now, that term has a more fleshed-out definition.
As of February 2017, ordinary wear and tear remains a protection from a landlord withholding a security deposit. The new definition includes deterioration, breakage or malfunction due to age and intended use.
Deterioration of the unit and/or its fixtures or appliances stemming from negligence, accidents or abuse does not qualify as ordinary wear and tear. Conversely, the tenant's obligation to surrender the unit they rented in a condition of "good repair" in no way requires that the tenant actually make "substantial" repairs or replacements that don't stem from their own negligence or fault.
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/what-dc-landlords-can-deduct-from-your-security-deposit/13885.
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