No deposit back after Finishing Contract?

Hello everyone! Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
We have been living in this apt (Taipei) for 2 years, and are about to finish our 2nd year contract. We’ve always paid well ahead of schedule, and even bought the place a new sofa we promised to leave behind.
Our contract (supposedly) ends on the 16th this month, and we unexpectedly found another place a few days ago and decided to go for it. However when we told the landlord this he said we could not get our deposit back because we told him too late.
The contract we signed is entirely in English (the landlord is a foreigner). It says the following: Should tenant decide to vacate the premises a 30 day written notice to the landlord is required. (nothing is mentioned about deposit here). I was quite confused because I thought this applied to breaking the contract, not to finishing the contract.
Furthermore, the contract does not specify it’s only a 1 year contract (there’s no ending date/lease term). And it was actually signed September last year (because the landlord was out of the country suddenly). All in all, it’s not a very well-written contract, would there be any legal recourse to help get our deposit back?

I would look for the deposit back minus about a week’s rent.

If they want to hold onto more deposit than that then I would hold onto the flat. Presumably for two months if that is the deposit. And I would be nice about it but tell them that they can have it back when they pay for it.

That’s interesting, how did you come to the 1 week’s rent subtraction?

For outstanding bills and things not worth fretting over.

(also a new landlord will often also give the first week rent free.)

I’m not an expert, but it sounds like the landlord may be within his rights to keep the deposit. However, you can probably give notice now and get the deposit back in a month. You’ll pay for an extra month but, assuming it’s a two month deposit, you’ll get half of it back.

Thankfully it’s only a 1 month deposit ~ so it would have the same outcome I suppose :o

Yes, it would. Can I have the sofa? :slight_smile: Just sell it to get back what you can.

“Promised” in what sense? :thinking:

As in we had to throw out the old gross sofa of the landlord (they didn’t want to store/keep it) so I am not sure selling it would be a good idea. :frowning:

How does your contract end if there is no end date specified in it?

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I am wondering the same, we just assumed it would be each year, but upon inspection it’s not specified here.

Article 450 of Civil Code says

When the lease is made for a definite period, the lease terminates at the end of such period.
If no such period has been specified for the termination of the lease, each party may terminate it at any time. However, if customs is in favor of the lessee, such customs shall be followed.
To terminate a lease as specified in the preceding paragraph a notice shall be given in advance according to customs, but if the rental of a real property is payable weekly, fortnightly or monthly, termination is effective only at the end of the calendar week, or fortnight, or month, and a notice shall be given at least one week or fortnight or month in advance.


Ah! Thanks, it seems there’s no way for us to deal with this then, we just need to accept it!

He’s keeping your deposit. What else is he going to do? Sue over a sofa?

What is the meaning of the word ‘customs’ used in a legal sense here?

Not really the end of the world then. I’d say give over the keys for some money back now . No money, see you in about three weeks (cause bills)

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I don’t know, but Articles 1 and 2 of civil code say on customs.

Article 1
If there is no applicable act for a civil case, the case shall be decided according to customs. If there is no such custom, the case shall be decided according to the jurisprudence.

Article 2
Only those customs which are not against public policy or morals shall be applied to a civil case.

Customs seems like a very variable term. The custom, or understood practice, of renting an apartment for one person would be very different than another. The only other use of custom I know is for import duties, which doesn’t apply. That’s an odd word to use in rental laws.

It’s 習慣 xiguan, as in 你習慣了嗎?

The other kind of customs would be 關稅 or 海關.

If you are interested in, there are some info available online.

The Application of Custom in Obligation of Taiwan’s Civil Code

With some judicial precedent

作者 法觀人編輯部

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