How To Make Sure You Get Your Full Deposit Back


Whether you have a great or terrible relationship with your landlord, when it is time to discuss security deposits, the gloves are off. If you keep your apartment clean and in the condition it was in when you first moved in, you expect the full deposit back. However, landlords can be very nit picky and can find even the smallest reason to keep some or all of your security deposit. In order to stop this from happening, check out these tips that can help make sure you get your deposit back.

1. Ensure everything is working when you first move in

Before you even move into an apartment, you should be sure everything is in working order. If it isn’t working when you move out, and don’t have documented proof it was broken when you moved in, you will likely be charged for it. To make sure this doesn’t happen, bring and fill out a move-in checklist on your walk through. It also couldn’t hurt to take pictures of the apartment too. Make sure your landlord signs the checklist as well, to ensure you have evidence that everything was in working order.

2. Maintain the integrity of the apartment while living there

So now that you know everything is clean and in working order in your new apartment, let’s make sure to keep it that way! This means not spilling things on the white carpet or destroying these appliances. Basically, treat it like you own it because if you don’t you likely won’t be getting much of that sweet, sweet safety deposit back. Also, if you keep on top of cleaning and small repairs, you will save yourself from having to do it all right before you move out. By continuously keeping your apartment clean and intact throughout your stay, you will make sure you get your whole damage deposit back.

3. Document everything

As mentioned earlier, documenting everything in your apartment before moving is a great way to make sure everything is in working order. However, the documentation shouldn’t stop once you move in. If something is broken or damaged, it is important to take a photo of the damage and then a photo after you get it fixed. Keeping a running list of things that are good, bad, and ugly in the apartment is a great way to make sure you don’t miss out on anything that could cost you a large chunk of your security deposit.

4. Clean and fix up everything before you move out

This one is quite obvious, but probably the most important in this article. If you have been lazy throughout your stay in the apartment and the messes and repairs have piled up, it is time to get your butt in gear. If you have any hope of getting the deposit back, cleaning up any loose ends before leaving is crucial. This includes everything from patching holes in the wall from nails, getting the carpets cleaned, fixing any loose hinges, and other general cleaning. Basically, it should look as good or better than it did when you came in possession of the property.

5. Ask the landlord to check it out

Asking a landlord to give your apartment a final inspection before moving out is always a good idea. It can be an awesome way to find out if you need to do anything extra to get your deposit back. However, remember, the landlord isn’t required to do this for you. In fact, some may want to do the walk through by themselves or some may not even help you at all. While your landlord might not even be open to this, it’s a good idea to ask. If can be a great way to ensure you get your security deposit back, as they will know if anything else need to be done.

6. Take photos the day you move out

This is basically the last step to ensure that you will be able to get and keep your full safety deposit back from your landlord. Right before you move out (and after you have cleaned and fixed everything in the apartment), take a ton of pictures of the house. IT is totally possible that after you have already moved out, they might find something small (or damage it themselves) and claim that it was like that when you left. The photos basically act as an insurance policy to make sure that you won’t be on the hook for any potential damages after you move out.

7. Know what to do if you don’t get the security deposit back

If you follow all the tips on this list and you feel you did all you can to get the deposit back, sometimes, that isn’t enough. Every now and then, a landlord is notoriously difficult or just a bad person and wants to keep the money to themselves. If that is the case, it could be a good idea to get in touch with a lawyer and/or make your struggles public in hopes that you will eventually get the deposit back from your landlord. Of course, if you really don’t deserve your deposit back and your apartment was a mess when you left, don’t fight it. Just accept it and hopefully you learned a lesson for next time.

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