If you are moving from your rental space, you want to make sure you receive a prompt security deposit refund. The good news is there are certain things you can do to make sure you get that refund promptly!
However, you need to run through this checklist and empower yourself. You want to make sure you know what it takes to ensure you get that refund promptly!
Ensure A Prompt Security Deposit Refund
Living in a rental home comes with a few pros and cons. You get to move out whenever you feel like it, and if something breaks down in the plumbing or electrical systems, it’s usually the landlord’s responsibility to fix the problem.
In addition, it’s a lot less demanding than buying a home of your own, not to mention much cheaper. One problem you will face with rentals is at times, moving comes with some challenges, especially when you want your security deposit refunded.
The last thing you need is for the owner to withhold your security deposit and not give it back. And, in some cases, they have the right to do so.
These 7 tips below can help you ensure the prompt return of your security deposit so keep reading!
1 – Always Read Your Lease Carefully For Your Security Deposit Refund
Above all, before you start doing anything, you need to take out the lease and start reviewing it carefully. Take notes if that helps as well.
This will give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of the damage that you need to fix around the place so you could get your security deposit refund.
Obviously, reviewing your lease is a top priority. For example, if you have $100 worth of damages the owner might withhold your entire security deposit and have every legal right to do so.
So, you must do your homework to understand how all this works. Checking the state laws concerning tenants’ rights and duties won’t hurt either. And, in doing so, it will give you the knowledge to stop any potential scamming by the landlord.
2 – Notify The Owner About Your Intent To Move Out
More so, most of the time, your landlord is not the enemy. They’re just a person who has a property to rent and they have their own bills and expenses they need to cover every month, much like you.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to put yourself in their position and allow them proper notice before you decide to move out.
That way they could start planning and begin the search for a new tenant because most likely, they can’t afford to have the place vacant.
Typically, a month’s notice is a fair amount of time for notice and increases the likelihood of getting your security deposit refund as well.
So, it’s good practice to give your landlord a fair amount of time as soon as you know you want to move.
3 – Fully Document Everything When Your First Move-In
It’s crucial that you document every nook and cranny of the place when you first move in.
You might claim that crack in the wall was there before you came and the owner might deny it. If this scenario plays out, the owner will hold your security deposit refund.
When it comes down to it, a court would probably take their word over yours. Therefore, you must document the entire place when you first move in.
Ideally, you can take a video walk-through of the entire property or take photographs of everything to avoid this entire problem happening.
In addition, you should also do the same when you’re moving out, so you’d have clear evidence of ‘before and after’ your tenancy.
The last thing you want is for a landlord to call you a couple of years after you’ve moved out to tell you there’s a hole in the wall behind the fridge or something.
In other words, don’t give your landlord ammunition to hold back your security deposit refund.
4 – Always Leave Your Rental Clean – Always!
Never ever leave your rental without cleaning it first. The owner can easily claim the property was not as you found it and therefore withhold your security deposit refund.
Therefore, leaving your rental a mess is enough for your landlord to hold back your refund and claim damages.
If you need to call professional after tenants cleaning technicians to help you restore the place back to how you found, make sure you do so.
If you don’t have the time to clean it yourself, it’s always good practice to hire someone who can clean it thoroughly so you can get your security deposit refund promptly!
5 – Get landlord’s Permission Before Making Any Changes
For example, if you make any changes to your rental apartment without permission beforehand, you might find yourself in a mess.
Breaking this policy might be the reason why you won’t get your security deposit refund promptly!
Ideally, before you make any drastic changes to the property, you must acquire written consent from the landlord that they approve of whatever it is you’re doing.
You don’t need to do that with minor changes or furniture additions, but if you’re painting the bedroom or tearing down a wall for more space, you must get their approval.
This makes it much easier in the future to refute any claims that you made changes to the property without the owner’s consent.
6 – Making Needed And Necessary Repairs
Similarly, another roadblock to getting your security deposit refund promptly are repairs to anything in the rental before you move out.
You can’t hand in the property with leaking pipes or hole-ridden walls and expect the landlord to just give you the security deposit refund back.
More so, you must take care of any damage that has happened during your tenancy and was a direct result of something you did.
If the property experienced damages before you moved in, you might not have to repair them but, if you caused the damages, yes, you must do the repairs.
And, to reiterate, make sure you document the entire property before moving in and provide your landlord with a copy as well.
However, it’s a good practice, in general, to not put off repairs until you do decide to move out. If something is malfunctioning in the apartment, fix it as soon as possible. That way you won’t have any problems with your hand when it’s time to leave the place.
7 – Your Security Deposit Refund Means A Final Inspection Before You Move Out
Additionally, aside from your final inspection of the property, it’s a great idea to call some friends over and ask for a second pair of eyes as well.
It’s always beneficial to have those extra visuals for the property because you never know what you might miss via your inspection. After you and friends inspect the place, ask the owner to come do the same.
Ideally, as mentioned, it’s important that you document the landlord’s inspection one way or another. Regardless of which medium you choose – photos or videos – this will ensure your prompt security deposit refund!
It also spares you any possible future hassle or claims that you did something to the place.
While it’s important to deal in good faith when moving out and claiming your security deposit, you also need to take some precautions.
Give the owner a proper notice and make sure the place is in pristine condition before you hand it in.
Moreover, also document everything from day one to ensure that no one will even think of scamming you out of your deposit.
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