Can I get my deposit back on an RV?

In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: Can I get my deposit back on an RV? We will discuss the reasons why an RV dealer can keep your deposit and how to avoid it.

Can I get my deposit back on an RV?

Yes, it is possible to get your deposit back on an RV, but it will all depend on the reason you gave a deposit and on how well you followed the conditions in the contract. 

First, let’s discuss why someone would give a deposit for an RV. Thus:

  1. You gave a fully refundable deposit to a dealership to hold the RV and the price he gave you for a certain period (usually 21 days) – in which case you will get your refund back once you buy the RV or if you decide to drop the idea. 
  1. You are renting the RV – in which case you will get the refund back once you vacate the motorhome.

An RV dealer can keep your deposit if:

  • You or your guests caused property damage.
  • You owe money for back rent.
  • You moved out without giving written notice to the landlord asking for the return of your rent deposit.
  • You have to pay a fee for the extra miles (a limit is usually specified in the contract).
  • Certain credit card fees and a cancellation fee on funds already charged in advance if a cancellation is made (usually specified in your RV rental cancellation policy).

Generally speaking, deposits are refundable unless you have violated certain terms of the contract or you created serious damage in the RV.

Tips to get your deposit back if you are renting an RV

Our first tip to get your deposit back if you are renting an RV is to review the lease before signing. To be sure that the property owner returns the deposit, you should review the lease in detail. 

If it includes the delivery with freshly painted walls or other clauses that condition the return of a percentage of the total of the guarantee deposit. Never sign the contract if it does not ensure you get your money back.

Second, check the damage. When the owner gives you the keys to the RV where you will live, it is essential that you carefully review the motorhome. At the time of the return of the property, many owners claim damages that already existed. 

The best thing is that the contract includes photographs that document the state of the property and the furniture + the inventory of the goods, in case you rent furnished. Once you corroborate all the inventoried aspects, stamp your signature and request a copy. This paper will help you in the future to verify every detail. That way you won’t miss a thing and you can make sure you get your deposit back.

Third, clean and repair any damage. It is certain that after living in a place for a while, everything will wear out naturally. Cleaning and repairing property damage is definitely an investment. This will prevent the owner from deducting a percentage of the deposit or not giving you the money. You can check some basic things like:

  • Burned out spotlights
  • Clogged or damaged pipes
  • Damage to the electrical installation
  • Stain-free furniture
  • Scratched or stained walls

With the photos and inventory that we suggest in the previous point, you can carefully check all the things that need to be repaired. This will help you receive your deposit without any problem.

The fourth tip is to request a letter of no maintenance debt. If you rent an RV you sometimes have to pay the maintenance fee, it is very important that you do not have arrears or debts. This may be a reason for holding the deposit. Whoever manages the collection of this service, you must request a letter of no debit. In this way, you will have the support of your payments.

The fifth and final tip is to watch out for your rights. You should know that under no circumstances – except damages and debts – the owner of a property can retain the security deposit. 

The owner has up to 30 days to return the money of the guarantee deposit, either 1 or 2 months’ rent. If during this time he does not inform you about damage to the property together with a repair estimate, it means that he is obliged to comply with the return of the money. Remember that every lease is legally valid, and in case this agreement is not fulfilled, you can always sue it.

What should I do if the RV dealer keeps my deposit because I caused damage to the property?

The rental deposit is an “insurance” that the landlord has against any damage you may cause to the property. Remember, you are obliged to pay for damages caused by you or your visitors intentionally or unintentionally. You don’t have to pay for damage caused by normal paint wear. Once the landlord gives you the list of costs and damages, you should:

  1. Review the list carefully. Do you think there are unreasonable charges?
  2. If there are charges that you think are incorrect, tell the landlord in writing (keep a copy for your records).
  3. Try to come to an agreement where the two of you are satisfied. For example, if it is simply a cleaning problem, offer to do the cleaning.
  4. If you do come to an agreement, be sure to put it in writing and signed by the RV dealer.
  5. If you cannot come to an agreement and believe that your deposit should be returned, you can sue the dealer in Court.

Note: If the landlord is charging you for damage that was there when you rented the RV, you need proof. Some landlords provide you with a checklist when you first rent an apartment. On this list, you should write down the damage you found before you moved in. If you completed one of these lists, look for your copy.

What should I do if the RV dealer keeps my deposit to cover back rent?

The RV dealer should give you a list of the bills he/she thinks you owe. You should:

  1. Review the list carefully. Are the owner’s calculations correct?
  2. Check your receipts. Do you have receipts for the months the landlord says you owe?
  3. If you determine that the landlord has made a mistake, notify him in writing (keep a copy for your records). Come to an agreement with the owner.
  4. If you cannot settle and the landlord keeps your deposit to cover rent that you are sure you have paid, you can sue you in court to get your deposit back.

Final advice

To prevent the RV dealer from keeping your deposit, you should complete the following steps:

  1. Before moving out, be sure to repair any areas of the RV that have been damaged by you or your visitors such as holes in the walls or floor.
  2. Once you have moved your possessions out of the RV, do a good cleaning.
  3. Take photos of the RV when it is clean and in good condition.
  4. Inspect the RV accompanied by the owner. If you find problems, ask the RV dealer for a list of things that need repair or sign a letter declaring no damage. If there is damage, make an arrangement with the RV dealer to make the repairs. This agreement must be in writing.
  5. If you cannot inspect the property with the RV dealer, try to do so in the presence of a friend. Your friend could be a witness in case the dealer tries to keep your deposit.
  6. Give the RV dealer a written notice requesting your security deposit. Include in your notice an address where your deposit can be mailed to you after you move. Keep a copy of the notice you sent to the landlord for yourself.

Do let us know if we can be of any further help or if you have any questions/comments on the content.


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