When you moved into your apartment, you likely paid a pretty hefty deposit. In some cases, it’s a full month’s rent, but you may have been required to pay even more for a pet. When it’s time to move out, you deserve to get every penny of that deposit back, but getting that money returned to you isn’t always easy.
This step-by-step guide will increase your chances of getting your rental deposit back in full.
The more you plan ahead, the more you will increase your chances of getting your rental deposit back. First, make sure you know when your lease ends and how much notice you must give your landlord. If you break your lease, or if you don’t provide your landlord with enough notice, at least a portion of your deposit will be withheld.
You should also clarify cleaning expectations. There are obvious things to clean, like the toilet and the countertops, but there are also things that may be required that you didn’t expect. For example, some property management companies will require you to fill small holes in the wall with spackle and paint over the hole with the exact color they use on the walls.
When you’ve given your landlord notice, you should also schedule a walk-through. If you’re there during the inspection, you may be able to fix small problems that would otherwise cost you a portion of your deposit.
The primary reason for a security deposit is so the landlord already has funds upfront to fix or clean a property that is dirty or has been damaged. If you can clean up the place so it looks like new, there’s no reason for your landlord to keep those funds. But, that means spending the time to clean your apartment from top to bottom.
- Carpets – Simply vacuuming your unit isn’t enough. Most property management companies require professional carpet cleaning. Check with your landlord to see if that’s something you need to have done, or if it is taken out of your cleaning deposit either way.
- Counters and cabinets – Most renters understand the importance of wiping down countertops, but cabinets are often overlooked. You should wipe the front and tops of the cabinets. The inside shelves of the cabinets should also be wiped clean.
- Appliances – It’s easy to wipe the exterior of appliances, but cleaning out the interior is a different matter altogether, and it’s one easy way a landlord can keep a portion of your deposit. Use an oven cleaner on the stove, replace the drip pans, and scrub the inside of the refrigerator and freezer.
- The bathroom – The bathroom is one area of a home that gets dirty quickly. Make sure the toilet bowl is scrubbed clean and get rid of soap scum in the shower and the tub.
- Flooring and walls – Hard flooring should be swept clean and mopped. The walls may also need a little TLC. Not only might you need to fill in small holes, as stated above, but you may need to wash the walls, especially behind furniture.
When in doubt, ask your landlord. They can tell you exactly what needs to be cleaned to get your rental deposit back, and in some cases, they may even be willing to provide you with cleaning supplies and tips. You can also check out this video that outlines common areas that are