Read Your Lease and Know the Law
Before you sign your lease, make sure that you read it carefully and understand the terms and conditions of the agreement. Your lease should provide you with information on what must be done in order to get your deposit back.
Generally speaking, tenants are not responsible for normal wear and tear, but they are expected to keep the rental in good condition. Before moving out, you may be expected to fill in nail holes, change light bulbs, and ensure that the windows are clean if you wish to receive a security deposit refund.
If you meet the requirements outlined in the lease, you should receive your deposit back along with a letter from your landlord. This simple letter serves as written proof that the landlord has returned your deposit. We provide a Security Deposit Return Letter template for landlords to simplify the process.
Report Damages Immediately
If an appliance stops working or other damages occur that are not your fault, you need to report them to your landlord as soon as possible. It’s also important to keep a record of all damages for your own protection. Take photos of the damage and make sure that your report is sent out in writing. No matter whether you send a written letter or an email, make sure that you keep a copy for your own records. Keeping records can mean the difference between getting your deposit back and walking away empty handed.
Keep Your Rental in Good Condition
It should go without saying that you need to keep your rental in good condition if you hope to get a security deposit return. If you damage something, fix it. The cost of repairing it yourself will be insignificant when compared to how much the leasing company will charge you after you move out.
Keep Records of Improvements You Make
If you make any improvements to the rental, make sure that you keep records of it. Before you make any improvements, you should check with your landlord to get their permission first. In some cases, landlords are willing to reimburse tenants for valuable improvements, such as laying new tile.
However, if you make changes and do not ask for permission first, the landlord may consider it a damage and deduct it from your security deposit refund.
Fix Changes or Damages Before Moving Out
Before moving day, make sure that you take the time to repair any damages or fix any changes that you have made to the rental. Fill in nail holes, change light bulbs, clean the windows, and fix any other damages that may reduce or jeopardize your security deposit return.
Cleaning is also important. Having the carpets shampooed and thoroughly cleaning the rental before you leave may help ensure that you receive your security deposit refund in full.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.