15 Tips For Getting Your Full Security Deposit Back

A key with a deposit of money

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A security deposit is a payment made by the tenant to the landlord in order to reserve an apartment or home. This money usually ranges from one month’s rent up to three months’ rent, and it is returned at the end of tenancy unless there are damages that exceed said amount.

Many people are not aware of the fact that they can get their security deposit back, even if they have a pet or smoked inside. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about what you need to do in order to make sure your landlord is going to return your money at the end of the lease.

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We all know how hard it is to move and how expensive it can be. It’s a good idea to save up for the inevitable cost of moving by saving your security deposit, but sometimes life doesn’t work out that way. Whatever the reason may be, getting your full deposit back can be difficult if you don’t have a plan in place! In this blog post, we will share 15 fail-safe tips that will help you get your security deposit back.

Check your lease – if it doesn’t say anything about the security deposit, call your landlord to find out

When you’re looking over the lease agreement, make sure you check whether there are any stipulations specifying how much of a security deposit your landlord can take from you. If there aren’t any such terms in the contract, go ahead and give them a call to see if they’re okay with waiving their right to keep some or all of it as compensation for any damages you caused.

Check your lease
Make sure you’re not violating any of the terms in your lease.

Just how much of a deposit can they keep? Legally, your landlord has the right to ask for up to two months’ worth of rent as security in case you don’t fulfill any obligations outlined within the rental agreement or leave without giving them at least 30 days’ notice. That being said, it is illegal for them to require you to pay more than the equivalent of one month’s rent upfront.

If they do decide to keep some or all of your deposit, make sure that any deductions are accompanied by an itemized list detailing what it is exactly that your landlord plans on charging you for (i.e., cleaning fees, carpet replacement). If they’re not, you can always take them to small claims court and ask a judge to order that your money be returned.

Remember – if the landlord withholds any of your security deposit without providing an itemized list or going through proper channels, they have violated state law. While this may not seem like much, it’s important for renters because it means that they can sue their landlord for up to four times what was withheld.

Keep the property in good condition

Keep the property in good condition
Keep the property in good condition by keeping it clean, tidy and free of clutter.

When you leave the property, you should ensure it is clean and in good condition. If there are major damages that need to be fixed before you turn over possession of the rental unit, make sure these issues are noted on your copy of the walk-through report (signed by both parties) so they can be deducted from your deposit at a later date.

Return the property with a clean and tidy appearance

It is important to clean the property before you turn it over to your landlord. You should also ensure that all appliances are in working order and there’s no excessive wear or tear on any of them, as well as keeping up with routine maintenance so they don’t stop functioning altogether. It’s important to go one step further than just ensuring everything is tidy – you should also open all of the windows and turn on the air conditioning to ensure that your unit is as clean as possible.

Additionally, you don’t want any roaches or bugs running around when it comes time for move-out day – if there are signs of infestation in your rental, this could be a deal breaker with regards to getting your deposit back.

Take pictures of your apartment to prove that it’s spotless when you move out

One of the best ways to ensure that you get your full security deposit back is by taking pictures before and after moving out. The photos will prove how clean (or dirty) an apartment gets in a set amount of time, which can help make or break any potential disputes with landlords over deductions from the deposit.

The walk-through report should be used as a guideline and not necessarily be followed to the letter – you should provide your own documentation (such as pictures) that show the condition of your unit. If it isn’t, there’s no way for them to prove their case against you!

It is important to take clear photos with dates on them so that they are easily verifiable. A good way to do this is by putting the date in a corner of your phone’s screen before you take any pictures.

Don’t forget to change all the light bulbs!

Change the light bulbs
Change the light bulbs in your house before you move out.

The small things add up – if you forget to replace a light bulb, your landlord will deduct it from your deposit. It’s important that all of the items listed in the walk-through report are replaced or fixed before moving out so you don’t get charged for them later on down the line.

Don’t forget: these tips are great to help you get your full security deposit back, but they are not a substitute for learning how to protect yourself as a renter.

Remove all personal items from counters so they can be cleaned thoroughly (or better yet, pack them away!)

It is important to clean your countertops before you leave the property. If they are covered in personal items that have been left behind, it could result in a deduction from your security deposit for cleaning fees.

Additionally, if there’s food still out on them when you go through move-out inspection, this can be seen as an indication of poor cleanliness and could result in deductions. Make sure that all of your belongings are removed from the countertops, along with any food items that may be left behind before you turn over possession of the rental unit to avoid having charges brought against you for cleaning fees at move-out time!

Check for mold under sinks and behind appliances

While you may not be able to get rid of mold and mildew on your own, it is important that you clean underneath sinks and behind appliances before moving out. If there’s visible signs of infestation in these locations when the landlord goes through move-out inspection, they can use this as a reason to withhold part or all of your security deposit.

Pack up your belongings neatly

Pack up your belongings neatly
When you move out of your house, it is important to pack your belongings in a neat and orderly manner.

If you leave your personal belongings scattered across the apartment, this can give a negative impression to your landlord and can lead them to withhold part or all of your security deposit. It’s important that you pack up everything neatly so they don’t have any reason not to return it in full at move-out time!

It is also advisable for you to take as many of your belongings with you as possible – if they’re left behind, it’s easy for the landlord to try and charge you later on down the line.

The purpose is to create a good first impression so that any deductions from the deposit are minimal or non-existent!

Replace old carpeting with new flooring

The carpeting in your rental unit is another item that can be used as a reason to withhold part or all of your security deposit. If you have old, stained carpeting when the landlord goes through move-out inspection, they may use this as an excuse not to return it in full – so make sure you replace any soiled floor coverings before you leave!

Clean both sides of blinds

It is important to clean both sides of the blinds before you leave – if only one side has been cleaned, this can give a negative impression to your landlord and could lead them not to return part or all of your security deposit. Clean up any messes that you have made during your stay so they don’t come back to haunt you later down the line!

Wash windows inside and outside

Wash windows inside and outside
Washing your windows before you move out is a great way to get your deposit back!

While it may seem like a small job, washing the windows inside and outside your rental unit is another way to make sure you get all – or at least most! – of your security deposit back. If there are any lingering cleaning marks on them when move-out inspection comes around, they can be used as an excuse not to return this portion of the security deposit. Make sure you get all areas sparkling clean before leaving!

Keep a list of all the things you want fixed before moving out – this way there are no surprises

It is important to keep a list of any work that needs doing before you leave the rental unit. If there are several items on your ‘to-do’ list when move-out inspection comes around, it could be used as an excuse not to return part or all of your security deposit – so make sure everything has been taken care of!

Follow all of the house rules outlined in your lease agreement

When moving into a new apartment, take the time to read your lease agreement. It’s important you understand all of the rules and guidelines laid out by landlords so that you don’t break any of them. If something isn’t clear, ask questions before it becomes an issue down the line.

In most cases, there will be one or more clauses about what you can and cannot do in the rental unit. For example, if you have a pet, this needs to be outlined within your lease agreement. If you want to paint or make any other changes or renovations, these must also be included in writing as well. In some cases landlords will allow for painting on specific walls but not others – which is something you’ll need to figure out before the work is done.

If there is an issue with something that needs to be fixed, it’s best if you bring this up as soon as possible. This ensures the problem is taken care of quickly and prevents further damage from occurring due to neglect.

Follow all of the house rules outlined in your lease agreement

When moving into a new apartment, take the time to read your lease agreement. It’s important you understand all of the rules and guidelines laid out by landlords so that you don’t break any of them. If something isn’t clear, ask questions before it becomes an issue down the line.

In most cases, there will be one or more clauses about what you can and cannot do in the rental unit. For example, if you have a pet, this needs to be outlined within your lease agreement. If you want to paint or make any other changes or renovations, these must also be included in writing as well. In some cases landlords will allow for painting on specific walls but not others – which is something you’ll need to figure out before the work is done.

If there is an issue with something that needs to be fixed, it’s best if you bring this up as soon as possible. This ensures the problem is taken care of quickly and prevents further damage from occurring due to neglect.

Spend the time to thoroughly clean your home before you leave

Finally, it’s important that you get your landlord’s contact information. This way, if something does go wrong during the move-out process (such as a broken appliance), you’ll be able to reach out and let them know! By doing this, there is less chance of any deductions being taken from your security deposit because issues can be fixed as soon as possible.

 

If you’re not sure what to do in order to get your security deposit back, it’s best to consult an expert. That way, you don’t have any surprises or disappointments when the time comes for you and your family to move out of that rental property. Contact Treasure Moving Company today at 855-715-6683 if you need help moving to your home or apartment! We’ll make sure everything is taken care of for you!