Paying a deposit
When you rent a property, you will usually have to pay a security deposit. A landlord cannot charge you more than the equivalent of one months' rent as a deposit or more than one months' rent in advance. If a prospective landlord/agent tries to get you to pay more than this, you can report it to the Residenital Tenancies Board(RTB) for more information on this click here.
Normally a deposit is held by the landlord as security to cover any rent arrears, bills owing or damage beyond normal wear and tear at the end of the tenancy.
You should not hand over a deposit to a prospective landlord or agent until you are certain that you are happy with the condition of the property, the terms and conditions of the letting and are willing to rent it. You should avoid paying in cash and always get a receipt.
You should always pay the deposit directly to the landlord/agent and not to another tenant.
Once your tenancy has been created, your landlord must provide you with an inventory at the beginning of the tenancy and Threshold advises you make a note of any existing damage or wear and tear. Take photos if possible.
What if I pay a deposit and don't move in?
If you pay a booking deposit to secure a property and then decide not to move in, you risk losing all or part of the deposit which a landlord may seek to retain to cover any costs incurred such as re-letting fees, lost rent. You should seek evidence of any alleged costs incurred.
As a tenancy has not been created in this scenario, you cannot avail of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) dispute resolution service to try to get back the money you paid. You may be able to pursue it through the small claims court see www.courts.ie
Be aware of possible scams aimed at getting deposits/rent from prospective tenants and if you have any concerns that you may be the victim of fraud contact the gardai immediately.
What to do
- Read our Avoid getting scammed guide