Many people have landlord horror stories, and most of them revolve around losing the security deposit when it’s time to move out.
This can happen for a number of reasons, but there are a lot of steps you can take to prevent it from happening to you. Do these 8 things when you move into your next apartment to make sure you get your security deposit back when your lease is up!
When You Move In
Do a Walkthrough With the Landlord
Set up a meeting with your landlord before you move in or on the day that you do. Take the time to walk through every room, check that the sinks and toilets are working, all the appliances are in good shape, and keep an eye out for small things like cracks in the windows or loose floorboards. If you see anything out of place make sure you let the landlord know so you aren’t charged for damage you didn’t create.
Just because your landlord sees the damages on your initial walkthrough doesn’t mean they’ll remember them when you move out. Because of this, it’s important to document everything. Take pictures of each room and even do a video walkthrough as well. Then, upload it all to a cloud account so you can access them again if necessary.
Get it in Writing
This is the most important step. After your landlord leaves, send them an email to confirm everything that you discussed. Attach any relevant pictures and videos, and make sure they agree and you’re both on the same page about existing damage or repairs that they will make.
While You Live There
Keep the Apartment Clean
This means more than just tidying up every week or two. When you rent an apartment, it’s important to keep up with the chores and cleaning all year long so you can get your security deposit back.
This means taking time for a deep clean every few months and tackling jobs like the inside of the oven, the grout between your tiles, and more that often gets overlooked during the week. If you create a regular chore schedule, you won’t be overwhelmed by the amount of cleaning that has piled up when it’s time to move out.
Request Repairs Immediately
Your landlord will be in charge of ensuring that repairs are completed and paid for. While it’s nice to have this responsibility off your plate, it’s still important to notify them immediately when something breaks. If the toilet isn’t running or the sink is leaking, worse damage can be piling up behind the scenes. So, make sure you keep your landlord in the loop to prevent that from happening.
When You Move Out
Consider Hiring a Cleaning Service
Don’t have the time for a thorough deep clean before you leave? Consider hiring a cleaning service to get the job done for you. Payment for one day of service is nothing compared to losing thousands of dollars of your security deposit if your landlord isn’t happy with the way you leave your house. Plus, when they come in for the final inspection a sparkling clean apartment will give a great first impression, which can go a long way in getting your security deposit returned.
Do a Second Walkthrough with the Landlord
If you can, schedule a final walkthrough with your landlord before you move out. This will be their chance to point out any problems that they see, and you can discuss them in person. It’s much easier to have the conversation together in the apartment, so nothing gets lost in translation in long email chains or phone messages down the road.
Again, document everything before you leave. Even if your landlord verbally promises to return your security deposit, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Before you lock the door and move out for good, do another video walkthrough of the apartment.
Make sure you get shots of the appliances, the bathrooms, the floors, windows, and more. If your landlord wants to keep the deposit for damages that he claims you did (but don’t show up in the video) it will be strong evidence in small claims court to get your money back.
Follow These Steps to Keep Your Security Deposit
Moving can be both stressful and expensive, so it’s nice when you don’t have to worry about getting your security deposit returned as well. Use this guide and do a walkthrough with the landlord when you move in, document everything, and get it in writing.
Then, make sure you keep your apartment clean and request repairs immediately if something comes up. Finally, consider hiring a cleaning service before you leave to get it back in perfect shape, and try to do the final walkthrough with your landlord. Take a video of the place right before you move out, and there should be no issues with getting your security deposit back after you leave!