The holiday season is right before us. Full of hectic charm and warm wishes, it can be easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of family gatherings, school plays, and office parties.
In the excitement of preparing for the holiday fun, many renters unintentionally ignore the terms of their lease agreement. This can not only result in an unhappy landlord but can affect the size of your security deposit–or can have even more drastic consequences.
Before you’re caught up in a flutter of seasonal activity, take a moment to evaluate your holiday plans to see if they could cost you your security deposit.
Do your plans include a long vacation this holiday season? Amind your planning, be certain to inform your landlord or property manager that you will be gone for an extended period of time. In some states, renters are legally required to inform their landlord of extended vacation plans, and even if your state does not, your lease may offer the same stipulations.
Guarantee that you won’t land in hot water during your time away by ensuring that your landlord knows how long you will be gone, and how to contact you in case of an emergency. Be sure to notify your landlord or manager in advance and verify if there are any maintenance tasks you must see too before you leave. This can be as simple as leaving the water dripping in case of a freeze to be sure that you don’t come home to a burst pipe. A little communication is all it takes to prevent yourself from being found liable for a preventable issue.
You may, naturally, want to convert your everyday decor into something that rings in the seasonal spirit. Whether you are stuffing the turkey or decking the halls, don’t drain your security deposit by creating permanent holes or damage when hanging decor. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the season! Renter-friendly decor options–like this faux holiday mantel–can be an easy solution to spread cheer this year.
Don’t forget that your lease agreement may also have an open-flame policy that will restrict or forbid the use of candles and other items. Be sure to double-check your lease agreement before creating a table setting that calls for a tapper tableau–like those in a Martha Stewart magazine. To keep holiday spirits high and the risk for your rental low, opt for flameless candles and command hooks to decorate this year or use these creative ideas.
Spending time with friends and family is, arguably, the best part of any holiday plans. Renting definitely should not stop you from celebrating with those you care about, even if you live in a small space! That said, before you solidify your schedule, give your lease a quick review.
Your landlord has likely included specific outlines regarding a guest’s length of stay. Many opt to have a long-term guest policy that restricts visitors from staying consecutive weeks in a row. This policy–usually designed to prevent against an unauthorized roommate slipping under the radar–often lists possible eviction or litigation as a consequence of breaching the contract. Because of this, it’s certainly not something a renter should take lightly.
Instead, ensure ahead of time that your guests know when they are required to leave. (Luckily-for-you, this can serve as a great excuse to pass on to guests who would otherwise overstay their welcome.) If you find yourself wishing that a particular guest can stay just a little longer, don’t hesitate to speak with your landlord or property manager to ask for an exception. If you have a good relationship with your landlord and your request isn’t outlandish, they may allow a guest to extend their visit for the holiday season.
The holiday season may be full of joy, but it can sometimes be difficult to navigate with all the scheduling and commotion. Give yourself the gift of knowing that you won’t be caught in a sticky situation this year when it comes to your lease agreement, and ensure that the holidays won’t cost you your security deposit.