How to get your security deposit back
MOVING into a new apartment usually requires a big upfront payment. You fork over your first month’s rent, plus a hefty security deposit. Ideally, you’ll get that deposit back. But a lot can happen between the time you move in and the time you leave. Follow these tips to make sure your security deposit is returned. Before You Move In Read Your Lease Carefully
Make sure you’re familiar with the conditions of your lease. Understand what must be done in order to have your deposit refunded. In general, the rule is: you’re not responsible for normal wear and tear. But you’re also probably expected to leave the apartment in good condition. Depending on the lease, this might mean the windows are cleaned, nail holes are filled, etc.
1. Document everything.
When you’ve fallen in love with a new apartment, it can be easy to overlook a small stain in the carpet or think the landlord will remember that broken blind. (Spoiler alert: They probably won’t.) It’s important to carefully inspect your potential new residence and document all existing problems before signing the lease. In some cases, the landlord may make the repairs before you move into the apartment. At the very least, documenting pre-existing problems will save you the hassle of conflicts later on and will protect you from unwarranted charges to your security deposit when it comes time to move out. 2. Document your improvements
If you want to make changes to your rental unit, check with your landlord first. You might consider it an improvement, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to charge you for damages.
With some luck, the leasing company might reimburse you for some of the improvements or repairs you make to the unit. If you lay down new tile, or complete a paint job, for example, it’s worth asking if they’re willing to go in on the expense with you.
Just make sure to communicate these changes to make sure they’re not going to affect your security deposit. Also — document your repairs and improvements.
3. Know the rules — and follow them.
The easiest way to lose your security deposit is by breaking the terms of your lease. It’s important to know and abide by your landlord’s policies on customizing your new digs, such as painting or installing new lights, having pets (including weight limits or breed restrictions) and lease termination. If you receive verbal permission to do anything that isn’t covered in the terms of your lease, get it in writing. Like a number of renters, some landlords can’t recall what the agreement was when the time comes for your lease to expire.
4. Don’t leave a mess.
Lay the foundation for getting your deposit back by leaving the apartment in the best possible condition. Although leaving it untidy is not a reason for forfeiture of your security deposit, you don’t want to give your landlord an excuse to delay the process. You aren’t expected to replace the carpeting or re-panel wood floors, but you shouldn’t leave debris on the floor either. Take care of any small repairs, but talk to your landlord before doing anything big, as you don’t want to run the risk of turning minor damage into major damage and have to forfeit your security deposit.
Here’s a handy cleaning checklist for moveout. Give the full list a look, but here are some subtle items you might forget about: Remove all nails and screws from walls and ceiling. Putty over them smoothly. Consider replacing the toilet seat if it looks “unsavoury.” Scrub the oven. Take out the shelving, drip pans and burners and clean those, too. — Twocents
Getting your security deposit back shouldn’t be difficult. Whether you’re moving out or planning ahead.