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How to Secure Your Security Deposit Return: 5 Must-Know Steps

Man and woman scrubbing windows with brush. As with most renters, your goal is probably to receive your security deposit upon moving out. Did you know that keeping the property in good condition greatly increases your chances of getting your deposit back?

Repairs needed for the property are a major reason why landlords and property managers withhold security deposits. Reducing the amount of potential repairs after you move out is logical.

Keep a record of your walk-through checklist

The home’s state before you move in isn’t your responsibility, but without proof, the landlord might pin existing damage on you. Accordingly, before you move in, thoroughly inspect each room and document its condition.

Always remember to fill out and keep a copy of the walk-through checklist your landlord gives you. If no checklist is provided, take notes of any damages, including minor ones, and potential repairs. Additionally, take snapshots of anything you document. This documentation will be helpful if any disputes occur in the future.

Maintain the cleanliness of your rental

To ensure a higher chance of getting your security deposit back, keep your rental home consistently clean. The necessity of sticking to your cleaning schedule increases the longer you stay.

Though surface cleaning controls grime short-term, deep cleaning is necessary for long-term residency. Ensure deep cleaning includes scrubbing grout, wiping kitchen cabinets and ceiling fans, cleaning appliances (fridge, oven, microwave, dishwasher), and performing appliance maintenance.

Moreover, clear hair from drains, replace light bulbs, and dust blinds and ceiling fans. Consistently doing these tasks will help ensure your landlord doesn’t deduct cleaning costs from your security deposit.

Practice caution when decorating

Be particularly careful when decorating your rental home to help secure the full return of your security deposit. Avoid putting excessive holes in the walls or making permanent modifications, as this could lead to costly repairs you would have to fund.

Non-marking, removable fasteners are a better choice than nails or screws for hanging décor items. They are suitable for items of different weights and sizes and typically don’t leave wall damage upon removal.

Employ coasters or pads under table legs, couches, and heavy items to protect floors during furniture relocation. Damage to floors is common and costly; planning and using proper supplies can help you avoid floor scratches or carpet tears when moving furniture.

Minimize damage by pets or children

Having children or pets in your rental necessitates taking measures to prevent potential damage to painted walls and other surfaces.

To protect walls from scrapes, scratches, and stains, place furniture or other items against them. Rugs can both protect your floors and give your kids a soft place to play.

Limiting pets or playtime to designated areas can restrict damage to just a few rooms. Employ quality cleaning materials, like magic erasers, to erase scuffs and stray scribbles.

Promptly report issues to the landlord

It’s vital to keep in touch with your landlord regularly and honestly. Informing your landlord of maintenance issues early allows for immediate action. Taking care of maintenance or minor repairs can stave off major issues later.

You must take responsibility for any damages observed after you move out. During your lease, the landlord generally pays for repairs. By reporting maintenance issues, you can enhance your chances of reclaiming your full security deposit after moving out.

Considering a move? Real Property Management Diversified will guide you to the perfect new home in Belleview and nearby areas. Reach out today for personalized assistance, or explore our available rentals to find your next home.


Originally published: August 19, 2022

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