Here at College Muscle Movers, we’ve helped folks through a lot of different moving situations. One of the biggest opportunities for a scare comes when you’re trying to get your security deposit back. Anxiety about security deposits can loom large for many renters, and we’ve gathered some tips to help ensure that you get yours back.
Read Your Lease!
The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with your lease. This is a given, even though lots of people don’t know the details. Do yourself a favor and read through it. Your lease will give you all of the information you need to keep your security deposit. It will explain your responsibilities in clear, legally binding language. Most of the time, the renter isn’t responsible for everyday wear and tear on a property. Outside of that, however, you’re expected to leave the apartment the way it was when you moved in.
Clean Up Properly
The most important thing you can do is clean everything. If you’ve been taking reasonable care of your apartment, leaving it clean should be the only step you need to take to get your security deposit back. Get behind the refrigerator, and dig deep into the cabinets. Grind down through the layers of gunk on the stovetop. If you’re having trouble getting rid of all this stuff, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will help. There are lots of hard to reach places that have probably escaped your cleaning while you lived in your apartment. If you get them only once, make sure that it’s right before you move out. Don’t leave behind any boxes, or papers, or bags of old clothes. Make sure everything goes! Don’t give your landlord a reason to hold part of your security deposit.
If you’ve hung any paintings or posters in your apartment, chances are pretty good that you’ve put some little holes in the wall. Most places are used to this, and they won’t give you any grief about it. On the other hand, if you patch them up yourself, you negate any chance for landlords or property managers to trouble you.
You can pick up a small tube of spackle, some small-grit sandpaper and a putty knife at any hardware store or large department store. Just fill up the hole with goop, scrape away any extra, and then sand the top to even it out with the wall. In a pinch, you can do the same thing with toothpaste.
Your final step after making sure everything is cleaned and repaired is to take pictures. Document the state of the apartment so that if something happens (i.e., the new residents trash the place and blame it on you), you have evidence to show the condition that you left in the apartment.
Remember, unless you’ve really done something egregious, you should be getting at least part of your security deposit back. If your landlord or property manager says they’re keeping it, make sure that they provide you with an itemized list of all the costs they’re incurring. As a last resort, you can always take it to small-claims court. Judges usually rule quickly, and the costs of small claims are quite low.
If you have any other questions about moving, or security deposits, feel free to get in touch with College Muscle Movers!