In the past three weeks, I have had four messages from expats who are trying to get their deposit back for their apartment or house in Ho Chi Minh City. All of these inquiries involved a common theme. They had a great relationship with the owner and decided to move out before the owner had given them their deposit back. After that, they don’t hear anything from the owner again. This is a common problem amongst the expat community but there are ways we can prevent this from happening.
What do I need to do when I decide to move out?
Firstly, when you decide to move out, inform your agent and owner one month in advance. This will give the owner time to prepare your money. To many people’s surprise, not all owners are wealthy or cash rich so it will give them time to prepare it. Also, acknowledge any breakages in furniture and then you can negotiate with the owner how much this will cost to fix. You might be able to get it fixed cheaper than the owner.
Make sure you keep a good relationship with the landlord
Furthermore, keeping a good relationship with the owner throughout the term of the contract is very important. Keeping to the terms of the contract and making sure the rent is paid on time is crucial. The owners treat this as a business and some rely upon their rental money as their income. One mistake a lot of expats make is they don’t pay the last month’s rent. This is breaking the contract so the owner can rightfully keep the remaining deposit. Always keep to the terms of the contract.
Who should I return the keys to?
When it comes to giving the keys back, the owner should be there to receive them. If the contract says the owner will return the deposit back within 10 days, ask the owner to sign a form saying there’s no damage to the apartment if you move out first. There have been instances where the owner has claimed damage to something which wasn’t the tenants fault.
What if the owner just refuses to give the deposit back?
Finally, if the owner refuses to give you the deposit back then let the agent handle it first. If the agent is unable to solve the issue then a trip to the local police station might be in order. If you have followed the contract without any late payments then you are fully entitled to getting your deposit back. A quick phone call from the police can usually solve the problem.
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