Landlord Security Deposit: How To Make Sure You Get Your Money Back

Some of my friends recently moved out of their apartment and were shocked when a month later their landlord refused to give them any of their $2000 security deposit back. True, they had lived in the apartment for several years, but according to them it was only “a little bit messy” when they left.

Have you ever been returned far less of your security deposit than you thought you deserved? Don’t let it happen again! There are some preventive measures that you can take to make sure that you don’t lose any money when your lease ends.

1. Stay in touch with your landlord

If you’re like me, you might find staying in touch with your landlord kind of awkward. After I move in and get the keys I like to cut my ties and live my own life in his or her house. Now, I’m not trying to say that you need to be in touch with your landlord every day, but if something goes wrong you need to let them know as soon as possible.

Whether it’s a clogged sink or a creaky door hinge, tell you landlord as soon as the problem starts. If not, the problem could get worse and cause more damage in your place. If you didn’t call when the problem started, your landlord may blame you for the result.

Even if it was you who broke something in the house, it’s worth calling your landlord. If you own up to what happened you’ll almost certainly end up paying less than you would if you waited for the landlord to find it when you move out. Plus, you won’t have to live with a leaky sink until your lease ends.

2. Help out around the house

Helping out with simple tasks around your place can go a long way toward building a great relationship with your landlord, which can result in a decreased rent for you, or almost certainly a decrease in the fee you may owe your landlord at the end of your lease.

Offer to help out with painting or installations that need to be done, not only to help prevent problems but to get on your landlord’s good side. When it comes down to it, helping to prevent problems is a great idea for preventive purposes, but being on your landlord’s good side is what really matters when he or she goes to return your security deposit.

Need some ideas for how you can help out?: Offer to lay down salt on the stairs after a snowstorm so that your landlord doesn’t have to come all of the way out to your place. If you can fix a sink yourself, let them know that you’ll be around to lend a hand. Offer to mow the lawn once a month.

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3. Ask first

Ask your landlord before you make any changes to your house, and reread your lease. One time I hung a hammock up in my apartment without consulting with my landlord first, and I lost some of my security deposit as a result. When it comes to hanging things like pictures, make sure that you are allowed to first. Some landlords don’t want to have holes in their walls. If you’re not allowed to hang pictures with nails don’t fret! There are plenty of 3M alternatives readily available at your local convenience store.

It’s important that you do not just assume that your landlord wants your help. Even if you think that you can fix up something by yourself check to make sure that your landlord wants your help before you go ahead and do it yourself. They may not want your help, and you may be charged even more for damages.

4. Clean up before you leave

The best thing that you can do to make sure that you do not lose any of your security deposit is to clean before you move out. Once you’ve moved all of your things out of the apartment take a sponge, broom, mop, vacuum, and wipes to absolutely every surface in the space. Clean places that you never even thought needed to be cleaned! Make sure that everything is sparkling before you leave, otherwise you’ll almost surely be charged a cleaning fee.

Have you lost money from your security deposit in the past?
Share your mistakes with us in the comments!


Category: Home & Family

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