How to Guarantee Your Apartment Security Deposit Refund

Blue piggy bank on top of spread of cash.If you’ve rented a place to live, you’re likely familiar with the concept of security deposits. Depending on how well you take care of your rental unit, you’re entitled to receive this deposit back in full after moving out. However, there are some cases in which a tenant will only get a partial refund or no refund at all. So, if you want to guarantee your security deposit refund, read on. 

What Is a Security Deposit? 

Typically required as part of the rental process, a security deposit is a fixed amount of money paid upfront by the tenant(s) for the landlord or property manager to hold onto. If the renter causes any damage to the unit, this pays for repair costs after they’ve moved out. Aside from normal wear and tear, if more considerable damages are found (or if any rent was unpaid), those costs are deducted from the security deposit. 

Ways to Ensure You Get Your Security Deposit Refund 

If no damages are found and you haven’t missed any rent payments, the full amount should go back into your pocket! Here are some tips to make sure you get that refund: 

1. Fill Out a Rental Inspection Checklist 

Guaranteeing your refund starts as soon as you move in. Even if an inspection checklist is not provided, do your own walk-through of the unit to check that everything is in good working order, and nothing is broken or damaged. Alert the landlord right away if you notice anything wrong; document it in writing and attach pictures/videos for future proof.

2. Read Your Lease Carefully  

This one’s a no-brainer for many reasons, not just for ensuring a security deposit refund. Read your lease thoroughly. This way you’ll know what you’re responsible for and all the rules you must follow to be a tenant in good standing. 

3. Clean Your Space 

One of the most important things is to fully clean your unit. Always leave a rental in the condition you initially found it. This may require removing stains in the carpet, scrubbing scuffs off the walls, and cleaning sticky surfaces from the fridge.  

4. Don’t Leave Anything Behind 

Leaving the unit as you found it includes removing all your belongings. If you leave things behind, whether it’s furniture or trash, the cost to dispose of these on your behalf will likely be deducted from your security deposit. Double-check closets, cabinets, and drawers to make sure you got everything.

5. Take Pictures Upon Moving Out 

Remember that rental inspection checklist you filled out on day one? Refer back to it. Does the unit right now look like the photos and videos you took when you moved in? Snap more pictures and videos before you go so you have the side-by-side comparisons in case the landlord does claim you caused damage.

6. Request a Move-Out Walk-Through 

In fact, some landlords may require you/all tenants to be present for a move-out walk-through before your last day (again, be sure you’ve read the lease carefully). If it’s not mandated but is something you want, request that you do one together so you can address any issues on the spot.

7. Return All Keys and Parking Passes 

Remember to turn in all keys and passes of any sort. Failure to do so may result in deductions from your deposit to pay for their replacements. 

If You Don’t Get Your Security Deposit Back 

If your landlord is withholding your refund, they’re required to notify you of the reasons why in writing. If you’re receiving a partial refund, they should provide an itemized receipt of repair costs for any damage. Be sure you know your tenant rights 

Moving out of your current rental and getting your security deposit back must mean you’re moving into a new place! In that case, you need to review and update your renters insurance policy so that it matches your new address and still provides adequate coverage. And if you don’t already have a renters policy, now’s a great time to buy one! Though not legally required, this insurance covers your possessions, loss of use expenses, and other costs. On the other hand, if you’re moving into your first home, becoming an owner instead of a renter, it’s time for homeowners insurance. Contact TJ Woods today to get the renters policy or homeowners policy that’s right for you.