Steps to Get Your Rental Deposit Back
Moving out of an apartment and leaving it clean does not necessarily mean that a security deposit will be returned. A security deposit is taken as a means of repairing any damage that may have occurred in the apartment plus payment for post move out cleaning. Property owners are not allowed to charge for normal wear and tear. Following a few simple steps will help guarantee the return of a security deposit.
The best way to guarantee return of a security deposit is to document damage prior to moving in. Before moving anything into the apartment, take a camera and notebook to the apartment. Closely look for any damaged areas. Take photos and document everything found in the notebook. Keep a copy for yourself and provide one to the landlord. This will offer proof later that any damage was already in existence. Include a photo of a current newspaper with the date prominent to verify the day the photos were taken. Take pictures again on the day you move out of the apartment.
Read The Lease
Thoroughly read the lease agreement to discover exactly what is required to receive the security deposit back. Following all the steps in the lease will allow you to know what is expected when moving out.
Have the landlord walk through the apartment prior to handing back the keys. Have them point out any deficient areas that warrant attention. This allows the opportunity to fix any problems.
Hire A Cleaning Company
Hiring a professional cleaning company to come and thoroughly scrub the apartment from head to toe will help ensure a deposit is returned. Save the receipt for the cleaning and give a copy to the landlord. Save one copy for yourself. Hiring a cleaning company and providing a receipt for that service will show the landlord your desire to receive your security deposit back.
Ask For Deposit Receipt
Turn in your keys to the landlord and ask for a receipt for your security deposit. Landlords are legally only allowed to keep funds from a deposit for repairs or cleaning. Landlords must document exactly what was fixed and how much the repairs cost. Security deposits are required by law to be returned in a certain time frame. Check this website to find the amount of time allowed by your state for return of a deposit.
Go To Court
If a landlord refuses to return the security deposit, be prepared to take them to small claims court. If court becomes necessary, be prepared to back up all of your claims. Walk into small claims court with all receipts and pictures as proof for your claims. If the landlord is not able to prove the apartment was in the condition they stated, you will receive your security deposit in full.