The BF and I recently went through the glorious (that's not sarcasm, I really do enjoy it!) process of apartment hunting. We decided on an absolutely perfect place, and headed to the leasing office to begin the application process.
As we walked up to the office, we noticed a sign outside. It advertised something called a "Sure Deposit" instead of a security deposit. Interesting. We walked inside, and the leasing agent started giving us the new-renter spiel. She soon mentioned the security deposit; instead of paying the required $500 security deposit, we had the option to pay an $87.50 "Sure Deposit". Many people had been taking advantage of the Sure Deposit option, she told us.
In our (foolish, so foolish) minds, we thought the Sure Deposit meant that we could pay the $87.50 and be absolved of any and all future payments to the apartment complex. We could move out and they wouldn't be able to charge us anything (for dirty carpets, chipped paint, etc) since we had paid the Sure Deposit. We thought that was pretty cool, especially since we had read a few reviews of the apartment complex online which seemed to say that these apartments would nickel and dime you to keep as much security deposit as possible.
So, we signed up for it. We wrote that check for $87.50 and walked out of the office, excited that we were "saving money".
A few days later, the BF brought up the Sure Deposit again. We started talking about it, and thinking through the whole process. "So, we could totally wreck the apartment and we wouldn't have to pay any money? That seems too good to be true..."
We finally did what (hopefully) any smart renter would do-- we googled Sure Deposit. Turns out it wasn't such a great service, after all. You don't get absolved of any further payments. If the complex finds any problems after you move out, they bill Sure Deposit for the charges, and Sure Deposit turns around and bills YOU!
Essentially, that $87.50 Sure Deposit was "loaning" us the $500 security deposit! If you do the math, that comes out to a 17.5% loan*!!!!!
Umm... NO THANKS!
We immediately called the complex and asked if we could switch to the traditional security deposit. Later that week, I dropped off a check for $500 and ripped up that Sure Deposit check for $87.50.
Please, please, PLEASE-- do not get pulled in by the siren song of Sure Deposit!
It is nothing but a very expensive loan.
If you have the cash, you will save A LOT of money by just paying the security deposit (and keeping your place in tip-top shape so that you get that security deposit back when you move out!)
*Their site actually says: "Using SureDeposit in place of your rental security deposit can help you keep more money on hand for the things that matter." Well, I hope that whatever "things that matter" to people are worth a 17.5% loan!
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