Ensuring Your Security Deposit Is Returned

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Ensuring Your Security Deposit Is Returned

Emily Gojko · Jul 23, 2009

Posting a security deposit can take a large chunk out of your wallet. Some security deposits can be as much as first and last month’s rent. You want to make every last ditch effort possible to ensure that your security deposit is returned.

Giving Proper Notice

When you are moving out, make sure that you read your lease agreement carefully. You may be required to give your landlord a specific amount of notice before moving out. You may also be required to give that notice in writing. Make sure that you pay close attention to these stipulations in your lease agreement. If you don’t adhere to them, you may lose some or all of your security deposit. For example, if your landlord requires 30-day written notice for a move out, and you move out without proper notice, you may be forfeiting your security deposit. That being said, your landlord, after a pre-walkthrough of the apartment or rental, may decide to let you apply your security deposit to last month’s rent.

Paint it Yourself

Additionally, it is important to prepare and ready your apartment for a move out before you move out. Most people like to personalize their space, and if their lease agreement allows, they choose paint colors that match their style. However, most rentals are turned over to the new tenants painted white. Consequently, if you don’t paint it, your landlord will. That means deducting money from your security deposit. Your landlord can charge you for labor and materials, or the cost of a subcontractor. This will always be more expensive than if you do the job yourself.

Run down to your local hardware store, and pick up some paint and paint supplies. Start painting gradually, so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Before you know it, the apartment will be back to white, and there won’t be a paint deduction from your security deposit. One thing to remember though before painting is if you have any wall damage from nails or anything else, make sure you patch and sand before you paint.

Rid Yourself of Window Treatments

Another thing to watch out for are window treatments. If you took down the standard mini-blinds, and kept them, make sure that you put them back up. If you didn’t keep them, again, run down to your local hardware store, and purchase some for self-installation. If standard mini-blinds are not installed in the apartment, most landlords will charge you, and it will be more than the cost of you buying and installing them yourself.

Catch Those Dust Bunnies

Finally, make sure the apartment is clean. A day or so before you move out complete a thorough cleaning. Make sure that you move the furniture out of the way too. You can even hire a cleaning company to get the job done. Then, after you have moved out, return to the apartment to do a final cleaning. Having done a pre-clean will save you a lot of elbow grease on the final clean. Landlords can charge your security deposit for an excessively dirty apartment.

Follow these guidelines and your security deposit will be returned.

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Emily Gojko: I am a writer, marketer, and manager with a strong background in real estate development and management. I am also a native New Yorker with an obsession for home design shows, so I have personal and professional experience making the most of small spaces, and dealing with good and bad living situations.

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