A security deposit is the money that you give to the landlord of a rental property as proof that you intend to move in and also take care of the property you are moving into. The security deposit can be refundable or non-refundable. Before you move out in the case of a refundable deposit, the landlord will investigate the property to check if there are any damages before he or she can give you back your money. Often equaling an entire month’s worth of rent, a security deposit can be a significant expense. Because of this, you’ll want to take some extra steps to maximize your chances of getting your full deposit back when you move out.
Before you Move In
Read the Lease
Reading your lease thoroughly before you settle into your new living space is an essential first step to take. This will help you comprehend what is expected of you when you start living in that property. This can help you avoid some unwanted issues or problems with your landlord that will cost you your security deposit.
Conduct a Room Report
Create a report list before you move in. in the report list, you should list all the damage to your apartment. After checking the list, make a copy and send one to your landlord.
Take Pictures or a Video
Before settling in your new apartment or house, take pictures of the damaged areas and a full video of the whole property. This is a method of documentation. This also acts as a support to the room report you did.
Take a Walkthrough with the Landlord
If possible, you should do a walkthrough with the landlord before you settle in the new property. This is important as it will make the landlord aware of the damages that exist in the house before your move in.
Pad Sharp Corners of Furniture
As you move in, be sure to pad the sharp corners of the tables, desks, bookcases, or other large items. This will protect the property’s walls and doors from being scratched by the sharp edges of such furniture. This helps you avoid damages that will cost you your security deposit (and it protects your own belongings from damage too).
After You Move In
Anything that you have damaged as a tenant, be it damage done by you or by your pet, should be repaired immediately. It may be cheaper to repair the damages by yourself rather than letting the landlord cut your security deposit.
Do Thorough Cleaning
Always clean any dirt and other messes that you have made, including kitchen spills and carpet spills. If these are left for a while, they could be hard to remove. This could mean your security deposit could be cut to cover the cleaning costs. Therefore, make sure you clean any messes as soon as possible to avoid letting them become worse.
Plan your Decoration
While decorating your house, make sure you strategically plan it. This will help you avoid any sort of extended damage to your walls. The damages could include making more holes on the wall than needed, and this will cost you your security deposit.
When you plan to move out, ensure that you inform your landlord one month prior your moving out. This will help them organize for the refund of your security deposit.
Not all security deposits are refundable, but this should be spelled out clearly in any leasing agreement. If your deposit is refundable, make sure you take every step you can to avoid losing any money unnecessarily. At the very least, a fully refunded deposit could help cover moving costs once you decide to move out of the rental property.