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How to Get Your Full Deposit Back from Your Landlord

Follow these tips to get the most of your deposit back as possible.

You’ve thought about all of the things you need to do to move.

The packing, the truck, hiring the movers and perhaps you’ve even thought about the place you are moving to.

As you move on to the next phase of your life, part of the process includes moving out of your existing apartment or house.

To people who are renting, retrieving their deposits from the leased space could be a concern. Everyone has heard of friends or relatives who did not receive their deposit back or who had to fight their old landlord in court to get it returned.

Prepare to Wait for the Deposit

First of all, if you’re counting on your deposit return as moving money, don’t. It takes time to get it back, even if you’ve left everything in tip top shape for your next move. In most states, the landlord legally has 21 days to return your deposit for all or a portion of your expenses. Many landlords will file a list of petty expenses associated with the cost of returning your former apartment into rent-able condition for the next tenant.

Landlords don’t often like to part with your deposit, even though they are legally required to keep them in a separate account known as an escrow.

You may have a perfectly good relationship with your landlord, or you may not. Even if you’ve gotten along well with the landlord throughout the time living there, when it comes time to return your deposit, things could get ugly.

Cleaning is Essential

One essential step you should take is to make sure the place is ultra-clean. Simply vacuuming, dusting and wiping down the appliances is not enough. You should absolutely spend the money to hire professional cleaning services. Most move-out cleans only cost a fraction of what your deposit would equivocate, therefore this nominal expense could literally mean the difference between receiving your deposit back, or not.

The average move-out cleaning service costs around $100, sometimes more or less depending on the square footage of your apartment or dwelling. Plus, it’s just in good taste to do it. No one likes to clean up after someone else’s mess. Hair in the bathtub or stains on the rug should simply be your responsibility to take care of.

Another benefit of hiring professional cleaning services is the time-saving elements. Time is money. It could take you a day or several days to clean your place, whereas the cleaning company will send professional maids or workers who are trained to clean quickly. They have the resources to do so. They can be in and out of your place swiftly. Focus on packing and other things, rather than wasting so much time cleaning.

If you have damaged anything that is not within the landlord’s responsibilities to repair, then you will have to fix it. Otherwise, this will get deducted from the deposit. It could be something as petty as a ceiling fan cord, or as major as an appliance.

Steps to Follow for Maximizing Your Deposit Return

  1. Making sure the place is ultra-clean – either as clean – if not cleaner than when you first moved in.
  2. Take pictures of the place before you leave and make sure you cover every room, just in case you end up having to go to small claims court.
  3. Some states let you request to be present when the landlord does the inspection. You can ask them what needs to be fixed or if additional cleaning is necessary to avoid future problems.
  4. Save receipts of any cleaning, painting or repairs you have done to avoid being blamed for problems that may not be your fault.
  5. Study up on the laws for your particular state to know when you should expect the deposit to be returned.
  6. If you have any unpaid rent, the landlord may keep all or part of your deposit towards any monies owed. Pay your last month in full.
  7. After you receive the deductions list or itemization of damage/cleanup/repairs, you should follow up with the landlord in writing before initiating any legal action. Only follow through with small claims if your demands are not met.
  8. Turn in all of the things your landlord gave you upon move in, including one or two sets of keys, garage door openers, or if any furniture was part of the rental you should leave it in the same room as you found it and in the same condition. Take pictures, if necessary.
  9. Be honest. If there was anything damaged, its best not to hide it. Instead, document these items and present the written documentation to the landlord upon move out.

Keep a Good Relationship With Your Landlord

Maintaining a good relationship with your landlord is instrumental during your tenancy, so try not to cause any disturbances or hassles that would make your landlord more likely to give you a hard time with regards to your deposit.

If you have been a great tenant, timely with payments and someone they have been fortunate to have as a renter, then you should have no trouble.

Just don’t count on your deposit being returned in time for your next place. You should have enough money for that ahead of time and consider the return of your deposit as extra money that will come at a later date.

Bernie Prince
Bernie Prince
Bernie Prince is the managing reporter for Say It News. He has a deep love of science fiction and history. His goal is to bring stories about these topics back into mainstream media coverage, which many other news websites miss. Bernie's favorite part of reporting is finding new ways to tell old stories with new facts or insights, giving them an updated twist that his readers will find interesting.
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