7 Steps to Getting Back Your Security Deposit

When moving into a new rental property, you will likely be required to pay a security deposit. Since this is money that you should anticipate getting back once you move away, you should start planning now to ensure you get that money back at a later date.

Step #1: Document Move-In Condition

Before you start moving your things into the rental, take time to document the condition of the property. After all, the definition of “normal wear and tear” is subjective and, therefore, you should have photo and video documentation to demonstrate what the place looked like before you moved in. A video walkthrough is ideal, as it will serve as proof that you kept the rental in the same condition as it was when you moved in.

Step #2: Maintain Records

If you have maintenance issues with the property, be sure to document each time you contacted the property manager to report these issues. When reporting maintenance request, it is best to make them through email or through a reporting system that sends a confirmation. This way, you have proof of when you made the report.

Step #3: Make Wise Decorating Choices

As you try to give your rental a more personal touch, make good choices regarding the materials you use. For example, you should use removable poster putty or removable hooks in order to hang things rather than drilling or nailing into the wall. You should also use felt pads to protect wood floors from getting scratched.

Step #4: Follow Your Rental Agreement

Once you receive your rental agreement, be sure to store it in a place where you can find it again at a later date. When looking ahead to moving out, read the agreement thoroughly to ensure you are following the proper procedure. This includes confirming how far in advance you need to alert the landlord with your move-out date.

Step #5: Clean Thoroughly

Before moving out of the property, you should complete a thorough cleaning of the home. This means doing more than just vacuuming and dusting. To ensure you get your deposit back, you should also clean behind and beneath appliances while also cleaning things like the door frame and light switches. If you are required to have the property professionally cleaned, keep your service receipt as proof to your landlord.

Step #6: Perform a Mock Inspection

Once the cleaning is complete, invite some friends over to help you perform a mock inspection. After living in the home for a period of time, it can be easy to overlook things that you became used to seeing. You and your friends should make note of any damage or deterioration that you find. While some things will be your landlord’s responsibility, others will be deducted from your deposit if you do not address them yourself.

Step #7: Move Out Together

If you have roommates, all of you should move out of the rental on the same day. If they move out before you, you will be stuck with cleaning up any mess that they leave behind. On the other hand, if you move out first, you can’t be sure it will be left perfectly clean for the next tenant.

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