Unless you were born yesterday, you know that when you give a property a security deposit, you might as well be lighting money on fire. Of course when you write the check, you’re hoping to get it all back, but what people often get is a letter in the mail informing them that not only are they not getting the deposit back, but that they also owe more money for additional damages.
Here are five tips to get your security deposit back when you move out of an apartment:
1. Complete your move-in inspection! This is by far the most important thing you will do on moving day. Moving is always stressful, but if you get too caught up in the hustle and bustle to do the move in inspection, you’ll regret it later. Remember that scratch on the wall that was there when you moved in? The dirty tray in the oven that should’ve been replaced? If you don’t want to be the one paying for it when you move out, you better write it down when you move in. Also, request a copy of the inspection and actually put it somewhere you can find it. Most properties are good about keeping stuff organized, but you never know when things might get misplaced.
2. Take Pictures. If there are any damages when you move in, take photographs of them and email them to the leasing office. Even if you aren’t requesting the property management to fix these damages, be sure they are at least of aware of them and that you have proof in writing and double it up with photographic evidence.
3. Take care of your carpet. The most expensive thing you’ll get a bill for most of the time will be carpet. People spill stuff, pets have accidents, etc. You may think a stain the size of a golf ball won’t matter, but believe us, it will if you don’t get it up right away!
4. Clean! Clean! Clean! When you’ve just moved into a new place, the last thing you want to do is clean your old one. If you don’t feel like doing it yourself, hire a cleaning service to come in before give the keys back. It’s a small price to pay to get back your whole security deposit. If your apartment management has to clean your apartment, their fees will be much higher.
5. Get everything out. If the property management company wanted to move all of the stuff you don’t want to the trash, they would work for a moving service, not an apartment complex. Even if it’s nice stuff, don’t think you’re doing them a favor by leaving a slew of free stuff for the taking. Nice or not, to them, it’s just stuff they’ve got to get out before the new residents move in. Would you want to move a bunch of someone else’s stuff? We didn’t think so.
No one can guarantee that you’ll get your deposit back, but if you are respectful and take care of your place, you will. Just because the space doesn’t technically belong to you, doesn’t mean you can trash it and leave it for someone else to clean up. If you do, you’ll end up paying for it with your security deposit… and possibly more.