Moving Out? How To Keep Your Security Deposit

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Moving costs a lot of money, and every penny helps. At the beginning of your lease, you put down a security deposit to ensure that you’ll treat the space well, and to cover any extra costs from wear and tear on the apartment. If you leave the space exactly as you found it, then you should receive your money back. That healthy chunk of change can be part of a downpayment on a house, a car payment, or extra spending money.

  1. Give Your Landlord/Leasing Office Plenty of Notice: To keep things peaceable between you and your landlord, give them ample notice as to when you anticipate relocating. The lease may specify the amount of time that they need before you move. Generally 30 days’ notice is sufficient. By alerting them early on, they can go through all of the other processes with you. If you meet all of the landlords standards, then you’re guaranteed to receive your security deposit back.
  2. Review Your Lease For Requirements: Read back over your lease to see what stipulations there are about conditions for moving out. It’ll give you an idea of things that you can start to tackle before the next steps in the move.
  3. Ask for A Walk-Through: For a thorough overview, you can ask your landlord to walk through the apartment with you. Take note of any of the damages or things they ask to be repaired. Compare these notes to the lease. Landlords are human, and they could overlook something. The lease is the legally binding contract, so go by what the lease says over anything else.
  4. Repair Any Damages: Move down your list of repairs to make the space the same as when you moved in. If you hung pictures and objects with studs in the wall, see if the lease says that you need to fill these. Do your best to remove stains in carpets, or any other dings to the doors and walls. Once you move everything out, go back over the walls to make sure new dings didn’t appear from the move.
  5. Clean After Moving: Do a thorough clean after you move all of your things out of the apartment. Vacuum, clean the bathrooms, mop the floors, and wipe down the appliances inside and out. Usually there will be a professional cleaning crew that will come in after you, but it is a good idea to clean things up before the landlord walks through it again. You want the landlord to see no damages, and for the space to be clearly cared for. This will drive home that message.
  6. Return the Keys and Notify the Landlord: Once you walked through the space and are sure that you repaired and cleaned everything, then return your set of keys. Notify your landlord that you’ve returned the keys to the designated place, and let them do a final walk through. Make sure to follow up with your landlord to make sure they are returning the deposit.

Work with your landlord to make sure that you get your money back. If they don’t need it to do repairs on the apartment, then you should be able to get everything back that you originally put in. Refer to your lease, as every agreement is different, and do your best to comply with everything that is written. Clear and open communication is best.

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