If you plan to rent a property or are already renting one, you can be proactive and take specific precautions to increase the chances that you’ll get your security deposit back. Let’s look at some things you can do to ensure that your landlord won’t be able to keep your deposit.
Do Some Digging
You are in the cat bird’s seat if you haven’t moved in yet, which is your opportunity to document the current condition of the apartment. Take time stamped photos of the apartment’s rooms so that you can document damage. Also, take the time to search the landlord’s name and the property’s name on Google to determine if you are dealing with a credible character. You can also check the leasing company’s name with the Better Business Bureau’s online business listings. This information will give you a gauge of whether the landlord is honest and will return your security deposit in full when you move out.
Sweat the Small Stuff
Before you jump in, read over your lease carefully. Take note of all its clauses and understand that contracts can be altered. You can amend them if your landlord is on board with the changes. The landlord should give you a condition checklist for each room. If he doesn’t, ask him for one. If he won’t provide one, create your own and give him a copy. This way, you can document previously existing damage. Take care to note all the faults with the property so that the landlord can’t dock your security deposit by claiming that you caused the damage. Be sure to take pictures of the damage and forward them to the landlord as well.
Then make copies of the checklist and keep one for your record. Mail the others to the property owner or manager by certified mail to prove that he received it. Perform a walk-through of the property with the landlord so that he signs off on the list of problems. Let him know in your mailing that you need the walk through to be done within two weeks.
While you are residing in the apartment, be clean. Take care of those stains before they set. If you have a pet, be extra careful. Use an air filter, clean incessantly and open the windows on a regular basis.
The Moral of the Story: Treat Your Apartment Like Your Home
The essential point is you should treat your apartment as though it were a real home. Just because you don’t own it yet, that does not mean you shouldn’t treat this living space with care. Clean the apartment, repair anything you break, prepare the space for the next tenant and there is a good chance you’ll get your full deposit back when it is time to move out.