When I moved out of Maastricht after studying, my landlady was not returning my deposit money. Not because I did anything wrong mind you. So, is your landlord not returning deposit money? Here is what I learned

  • When you leave, make sure you leave everything clean and perfect
  • Take pictures of your place in its perfect state
  • For the key hand over have a meeting and record the landlord stating your room is ok
  • Do everything on the record, no  spoken agreements, all by email
  • If you have no choice, go for legal action. Do not leave it be.

Your landlord not returning deposit money is not ok

Your deposit is to make sure that if you break something, your landlord doesn’t have to hassle you for money to compensate for it. Ironically many of them just consider it money that belongs to them…

Usually your landlord should pay back your deposit in full after you hand back your keys.

Not paying your last month

This is what a bunch of my fiends did. It’s not officially allowed as far as I know, but works pretty well as it puts you in the power position.

I personally didn’t do it, but would have saved a lot of time and frustration if I would have.

Record calls and conversations

You want to have everything on the record. When my landlady came to inspect the apartment before me leaving, I put my phone in my pocket with a recorder app on.

I asked her straight ‘is the room in order’, she was vague so I pushed her by asking if anything specifically was wrong. Seeing as everything was fine she said it was ok but tried to find reasons for me being a bad tenant. Full disclosure, I had barely lived there for a year as I slept over at my girlfriends all the time. So basically anything she tried to point out wrong with the rest of the house was not due to me…

Regardless of her trying to find reasons she could later refer back to to keep the deposit, she had clearly stated my room was in order. So I was happy.

Do everything on the record

If you call, record the calls (check local law). If your phone can’t do that (see article), don’t call but email. You want to be able to document all of your conversations.

The kind of landlord that will keep your deposit is the kind that will gladly claim “I never said that” in a dispute or legal case. Have everything on record. That includes making sure that physical letters you send need to be signed for.

Start a legal procedure

Letting the whole deposit thing slide does nobody any good. It is exactly what the landlord wants and will make him/her think they can do it again with future tennants.

if you are insured for legal action, talk to your provider. In my case they paid me my deposit and told me they’d take care of it. Most people in the Netherlands have an insurance that should cover this.

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