Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back
Moving into a new place is exciting, but it can also be expensive. Before you move in, most landlords or apartment complexes require the first months rent, a deposit, and any other extra fees. The deposit is their security that you won’t destroy the apartment. The deposit is held until the end of your lease to assess how much money the landlord needs to spend to repair the place after you leave. If you leave it in pristine condition, then you can get your entire deposit back.
1. Take Photos Before/After Moving: Take photos of the condition of the apartment before you move in, and after you move out. Take extra note of any imperfections that are already present. You don’t want to be charged or lose your deposit for something that was there when you got there.
Taking photos after you leave also ensures that something doesn’t happen in between when you leave, and when the new person enters. If you don’t have evidence, then it’s just his word verses yours. In a case like that, then the law is more likely to be on the landlord’s side.
2. Read Your Lease Carefully: Read over the lease carefully so that you know what is expected of you as a tenant. Know whether or not you’re allowed to change the wall colors, or if pets are allowed. You want to make the new apartment feel like yours, but you have to be careful as to how much you change it.
Many landlords and apartments don’t let pets live there because it is a hassle to clean up after them. Usually pets have accidents inside, or their dander gets deep in the carpet, and it’s difficult to clean.
3. Fill Out A Rental Inspection Checklist: Before you move in, go through a complete checklist to inspect your new space. Report any defects to your landlord immediately before you move your things in. Have it in writing, and take your photos for physical evidence. The landlord will have a few days to fix whatever you find to be a problem.
4. Reassemble Your Space: You’ve enjoyed living at your apartment, and now it’s time to leave. As you are moving out, remember to repair all of the little bumps and holes that happen with normal wear and tear. Fill in the holes from where you’ve hung pictures, and paint over scuffs and dings on the walls. Repair any broken handles or small damages that happen over time.
5. Request A Final Walk-Through: After you’ve made all of your repairs, ask your landlord to walk through the apartment with you to see if there is anything else that they would like repaired. The landlord doesn’t have to agree to do this, but it never hurts to ask. It’s better to have an idea of what is important to them, so that you make sure to get that covered before you leave.
6. Leave a Forwarding Address: Once you move, leave a forwarding address with your former landlord so that they know where to send the deposit to. It can also be helpful if a few straggling pieces of mail don’t make it to your new location.
Take care to guard yourself with photos and knowing your lease inside and out. By knowing what is required of you, then you can maintain your apartment in good condition so that when you leave, the landlord will return the deposit back to you. That chunk of change can go towards your next place, a down payment on a house, or paying off extra bills. Every little bit helps!