More often than not, security deposits are equal to one month’s rent at your apartment, which can be a significant amount of money. The thought of throwing that sum of money out the window may be nauseating, but all too frequently renters forget to take precautionary measures to ensure they receive their full refund (or as much as possible) when they are ready to move. There are some simple steps to take which will help you get your security deposit back.
- Know your lease like the back of your hand. Understand the terms for renewal and how much notice has to be given before moving in order to not break the lease.
- Fill out a move-in checklist noting all damages or potential problems in the apartment and document with photos. Then, have the landlord sign off on this documentation and date it. When you move out, do a move-out checklist and take photos which can be compared with the originals. This way there can be minimal ambiguity over who is responsible for damages.
- Do basic maintenance and repairs before you move out, such as: patching nail/tack holes in the wall, touch up or repaint the walls, repair any damages you are responsible for, etc.
- Talk with your landlord and ask questions. If you have any concerns, ask your landlord about them. When you are ready to give notice, make sure to provide verbal and written notice. You may even want to ask for a signed notification that notice was received so there are no miscommunications.