Security deposits: managing them well when renting out your property

In terms of seasonal rentals, deposits are not mandatory, and they are not regulated by law.


However, they remain the main security against the risks of cancellation and damage to equipment. Common practice and accepted by the majority of us, their legislative framework is defined through the drafting of the rental contract. In this sector, the majority of disputes are linked to contractual problems. It is therefore necessary to be particularly vigilant when drawing up the clauses. Here are some tips on how to draw up a secure contract.

What do I need to show on the contract?

The contract must reflect the image of the rental, embellishing the offer can be dangerous[1]. In the event of "false advertising", the tenant can claim damages by appealing to the Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF).

On the contract must appear :

  • The address of the accommodation
  • The identity of the landlord: if the accommodation is not managed by the owner, indicate the name of the manager and his head office
  • The identity of the tenant
  • The characteristics of the property: number of rooms, surface, accessories provided/inventory and state of maintenance
  • The details of the transaction: start date, duration of the lease, amount of charges, insurance, payment terms, characteristics of the deposit

The conditions of a deposit request

A deposit is a commitment by both parties to reserve a property. The amount paid is an advance on the payment which is not refundable. In the case of seasonal rentals, you can adapt the terms of the contract. If the tenant breaks the contract, he/she forfeits the money paid. If the landlord terminates the agreement, he must return the amount paid twice.

How much can I ask for the reservation guarantee?

On average, hosts ask for 20% of the rental amount. Note that if the contract is sealed by a real estate professional the amount requested cannot exceed 25%. In other cases it is possible to ask for a deposit of 100%, but your client must accept this unusual request!

The conditions of the security deposit

For your deposit to have legal meaning, it must be based on a complete inventory of fixtures that will serve as proof in the event of a dispute. Don't be afraid to be too exhaustive, every detail must be taken into account. And above all, don't forget that everything is contractual, you are free to make your own demands!

What does it cover?

It can cover various parameters: keys, furniture, etc. The question to ask is "How much can I charge for what?", you don't charge the same amount for lost keys as for a broken vase.
It is therefore wise to tailor your request for a deposit according to your needs. You can differentiate your needs by requesting several deposits.
Usually the landlord will ask for one cheque with a large amount, for example 1000€. If the tenant breaks a vase, he will not pay 1000€! A partial collection will have to be made, and part of the deposit returned.
To anticipate this problem, you can either ask for several deposit checks with different amounts or a part of the deposit in cash, in order to have the freedom to choose the amount to be cashed. However, storing cash is both impractical and dangerous (loss, theft, etc.). Swikly responds to these two issues by offering online management of guarantees.

Which payment methods should I use?

Generally, guarantees are made by cheque, however this method has two disadvantages: it is only used for French customers and does not guarantee that there are provisions on the account.
You can also request a bank transfer. But with an increasing number of scams on the internet, customers are wary.
It is also possible to ask for the deposit in cash. However, this increases the customer's distrust, as the only guarantee for the return of the deposit is the trust he places in the host.
The most convenient solution is to use a trusted third party such as Swikly which simplifies payment and helps you manage any disputes.

When to return the security deposit?

The cancellation of the deposit is usually done at the time of the inventory of fixtures of exit. In the case of a seasonal rental, you can allow a few extra days in case of a bad surprise.

Swikly: Online security deposits

It is important to secure your reservations by drawing up a rental contract.
Taking a deposit when you book commits your customer, reduces your risk of cancellation and therefore secures your turnover.
By asking for a deposit your customer is more invested in the rented equipment and therefore more respectful. It is important to keep in mind that a good management of deposits has a direct impact on business relations.

The solution Swikly aims to counter the inconvenience of traditional requests for deposits and guarantees by facilitating the process through an ergonomic internet platform. A centralized online management of deposits and guarantees simplifies your procedures and represents a gain in productivity.

In just a few clicks you can create a free account with no obligation to send a request for a deposit or a down payment. Your client will receive an email and an SMS redirecting him to our site so that he can enter his bank imprint. He will be debited only in case of cancellation or damage of the equipment.

Your reservation is secure without any unnecessary money transfer for your client. Also, in case of disagreement, we act as a trusted third party and manage disputes. With SwiklyYou can have your general terms and conditions of sale signed automatically to provide a secure contractual framework.

Swikly allows you to take your deposit and guarantee simply, remotely before the handing-over of the keys and thus facilitates a friendly reception!

1] For more information you can refer to the Decree n°67-128 of 14 February 1967.

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