Unfortunately, many people on the island have encountered dishonorable behavior from landlords – local and Russian-speaking owners do not return a security deposit at the end of a tenancy. It is often double, and it is unpleasant to lose a lot of money.
We have put together some pieces of advice from our expert lawyer: how to behave when moving in and what to do to prevent the risks of withholding your deposit.
So, according to the laws of Northern Cyprus, a landlord has the right to take a security deposit equaling to one-two monthly rent. It concerns long-term rent. A short-term deposit, say, for a 1+1 apartment for a week, can be 100-200 €.
An accommodation deposit guarantees the landlord reimbursement of every possible damage (other than the expected depreciation/amortization) caused by the tenants, and the absence of debts for water, electricity, etc. at the end of the tenancy. We recommend you include all in the contract.
In case of damage to real estate, the process is simple. When one moves out, the landlord or his representative must inspect the apartment, and if there is any damage, make an estimate and present a bill.
Important tip 1: when you move in, shoot a video of the rented premises, preferably right when you take it into use. If you find any problems during your stay (for example, the kettle does not turn on, and you did not check when you moved in), immediately inform the landlord in writing.
With utility bills, things are more complicated as, on your departure date, there will be no last bill formed yet. Because of this, the landlord has the right to refuse to return the deposit, which guarantees debt repayment.
Important tip 2: If you have agreed to pay your water and electricity bill, take a photo of the calculators when you move in and send them to the landlord or his representative to record the readings. You should ask when the bill for electricity/water will be issued and how the first receipt will be calculated (if you moved in in the middle of the month, and they form bills at the end of the month, then discuss your compensation in advance). At the end of your tenancy, you'd better go to the electricity supply office with the owner - if the calculators are for their name, only they will get the readings - find out the debt on the day of your departure, and immediately pay it. If there is a new type of calculator (electronic and not manual) in your apartment/house, then there is an alternative option - you can offer the landlord an amount based on previous bills.
The easiest way to get your deposit back is to ask for it when handing over the keys. Of course, a lot depends on the decency of the owner, but to prevent possible troubles, put down the necessity of returning the deposit in the contract and specify the terms for it (preferably on the day of departure).
If the owner goes into conflict and deliberately does not return the money, record the apartment's conditions upon departure - shoot a video. If possible, get a receipt from the owner that he has no claims against you. In the future, with this evidence and your contract, you will go to court. But this is the most unfavorable outcome.
We wish you to meet decent owners.