Security deposits can be a source of stress and frustration for both landlords and tenants. Tenants generally expect to receive their deposit in full when they move out, even after causing damage that requires money to repair. Likewise, landlords get stressed out when tenants argue over legitimate deductions.
Despite strict rules governing deposits, some landlords make illegal deductions from tenant security deposits. Unfortunately, that’s a reality that many tenants experience. However, 7 students from Leeds had a completely different experience that left them in awe of their landlord.
7 Leeds residents receive unexpected “good tenant” bonus from landlord
Seven students renting an apartment in Leeds were shocked and ecstatic when their landlord returned their security deposits and gave each of them a £50 bonus. The students had been living in the apartment for three years before graduating and parting ways.
The students were overwhelmed by their landlord’s kindness and so was the world. The students shared their landlord’s text on Twitter, which read:
“As a thank you, I have added a small bonus of £50 to each of your deposits making it £300 and now the shops are opening again I hope you’ll be able to buy yourself something nice. You have all been excellent tenants.”
For a tenant to receive this kind of message (and bonus) from a landlord is a strong reminder that not all landlords are selfishly-oriented. Some landlords appreciate their tenants and are willing to go the extra mile to acknowledge those tenants.
Not all good tenants will be as lucky as these 7 students
The seven students who received a generous bonus from their landlord are lucky. Not every good tenant will experience that level of appreciation and generosity. Being a good tenant is something that often goes unacknowledged.
A landlord who fails to recognize good tenants isn’t necessarily a bad landlord. A landlord’s life gets busy and chaotic at times. Often, landlords are just trying to get their tasks complete and live their life. However, landlords who go out of their way to acknowledge, reward, and connect with tenants have better relationships with those tenants. Maintaining a good tenant relationship is the key to retaining long-term tenants that don’t destroy the property.
Needless to say, some landlords could use a boost where tenant relationships are concerned. Although providing a bonus may not be every landlord’s cup of tea, shifting the way security deposits are handled could help improve tenant relationships.
Can a shift in security deposit practices improve landlord-tenant relationships?
Security deposits have been a source of contention for decades. To remedy the tension, many cities are adopting new regulations that allow for alternatives to security deposits. Although not all cities require landlords to offer deposit alternatives, landlords in growing cities – like Houston and Seattle – should at least consider the option.
Not every tenant is able to pay a full security deposit in a lump sum. Just because a tenant can’t pay the security deposit upfront doesn’t mean they can’t pay their rent. For people who live paycheck-to-paycheck and don’t have a padded savings account, generating a lump sum security deposit can be a barrier.
A security deposit that is equal to a month’s rent (or more) can prevent people with low incomes from finding a place to live. Providing deposit alternatives makes it easier for those individuals to get housing.
Security deposit alternatives presently in effect in certain cities include:
- Allowing tenants to pay the deposit in installments over a period of 6 months
- Allowing low-income tenants to pay a reduced deposit in an amount set by the state
- Allowing tenants to take out rental security deposit insurance
Rental security deposit insurance has potential
Of all the options listed above, rental security deposit insurance is a relatively new service and has the potential to make life easier for tenants. However, it doesn’t work like standard insurance policies. Instead of paying a monthly fee, tenants pay a flat rate for coverage. Unlike an actual deposit, the flat rate insurance premium is non-refundable.
For example, if a tenant needs to pay a $1,000 security deposit, they might pay a $250 flat fee for security deposit insurance. At the end of their tenancy, the insurance company will pay for any damages up to $1,000. However, in the absence of damages, the tenant won’t get the $250 back. The tenant benefits by not having to come up with $1,000 to move into a new house.
Great landlords do exist
As the coronavirus pandemic has shown, great landlords do exist, but there’s always room for more. Hopefully, more landlords will start recognizing good tenants with kind words and monetary bonuses.