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How to Get a Return of Your Security Deposit

MyApartmentMap - Jan 2, 2014

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You move into a new place and as soon as you move in they ask for your first months rent, plus a security deposit. That’s a lot of money to fork over at first, but with the right amount of care and precautions it’s possible to get all of your security deposit back. Through cleanliness, knowing your rights, and taking precautions from the beginning will definitely ensure you receive your full security deposit and a great letter of recommendation.

So what do you do to make sure you get your security deposit back when you move out? One thing to always remember is the process of getting your security deposit back starts from the second you receive your keys. Before you even move into the apartment it is vital that you see what has been damaged by previous tenants. The best approach is to go through the house and make a list of things that could get docked from your security deposit and take pictures of them (holes in the wall, broken appliances, ruined carpets etc.). Then draft up a contract.  Ask your landlord to come by and show them what you have found, and have them sign the contract. Give your landlord a copy and keep a copy for yourself. This will ensure that you will not be charged for other tenant’s prior misuse of your new apartment, now how you treat your apartment is a different story.

It’s also important to know your rights on what your landlord can use your security deposit for and what they cannot, where the security deposit should be held and other things you most likely don’t think about. All states are different regarding security deposit, so make sure to check the laws of the security deposit corresponding to your state. Know your security deposit rights otherwise you could get scammed.

During your rental some ways to ensure your receive your security deposit back would be to only have normal wear and tear around the apartment. So what is considered normal wear and tear? Things like fading paint, light usage of rugs, and fading of hinges, cabinets, door handles etc.  Therefore, making big holes in the wall does not constitute wear and tear. Surprising. But some people don’t understand this. Also, if you have small holes in your walls then it would be smart to cover them up. A little trick I learned from an ex roommate was to buy white toothpaste and plug up smaller holes with toothpaste. It gives the room a refreshing minty smell too. 

Some things that I’ve learned when moving out is to clean, clean, clean.  Although a lot of landlords will still get a cleaning crew, they can’t charge you for the cleaning if you’ve already done it. I would even go as far as shampooing the carpets. Although this takes some time, it’s possible to rent a shampoo machine from Home Depot or Wal- Mart for about $20 to $40/ day.  At the end of the day a few bucks and sometime cleaning are worth the $400-1500. Hopefully these tips find you well and with some money in your pocket at the end of the lease!