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8 tips to get your deposit back



Once you have handled the stress of moving, the last thing you want is the stress of dealing with a landlord who sticks to your security deposit. It is your money, and you are entitled to it, as long as you have left your rent in good or better condition than when you moved in. Getting that deposit should be easy if you have taken the right steps before, during, and after your move.

Notify the landlord

All it takes is a simple written statement letting him or her know that you are leaving. Make sure to get them to them in the timeframe of the lease. Enter an address where they can forward your deposit. Date, sign and keep a copy of that letter along with other documentation obtained during your rental period.

Read the paperwork

Whether you have a six month lease or a month to month contract, I am likely to have some type of contract to sign and date. Read through it to find out what you need to do when you decide to terminate the coating.

Information about how much notice you need to give before you leave can vary depending on the agreement between you and your landlord, and if your lease requires 60 days when you assumed you only needed 30, it will affect what you get. Read the fine print and be sure to follow any additional instructions required to prevent the landlord from sticking to your money.

 rental agreement

Make necessary repairs

Did you walk through the landlord before moving in? Have you taken pictures and documented all the small errors that were already included in the rent? If you have lived in your space for a while, normal wear and tear will occur and should not affect your deposit, but other incidents that have damaged your space must be addressed before you leave. If you have a good relationship with your landlord, ask them to do a review with you before you leave so they can provide input on what to work with.

Other basic fixes include patching the holes you made when hanging posters, framed art, and pictures. A little plaster kit can fill small holes, but larger ones may require a patch kit. When you have filled and patched, a fresh coat of paint goes a long way, especially if you painted your walls a wild color without being allowed to do so. You may be stuck and paint back to landlord's specifications, but it's not too bad. Clear your head, breathe slowly, focus on your movements and maybe just find yourself in a painted zen. You're welcome.

Burned out light bulbs and dead batteries are easy to replace – replace them and move on to the next task, such as fixing any damage caused by pets. We know how satisfying it is to bring a pet into our lives, but a dog suffering from separation anxiety can really make a number in your space. Forks to the door from dirty paws can be easily cleaned, but damage from long nails digging in wood and paint may require grinding and painting to be acceptable during the last walk.

 spackling a wall with a glove and flat tool

Top for bottom cleaning

Of course, you have to clean, but it differs from your week's garbage. and mop jobs. When all your stuff is out, it will be easy to see the dust and seashells that accumulate over time. Look up and then down into each room. Use a broom to catch spider webs in the corners, and step up to clear all dead bugs from the ceiling fixtures.

Wipe down the front of the kitchen cabinet, get behind the stove, suck out spillage in the fridge and dust the ceiling fan. There are dozens of forgotten spaces that you don't normally clean, so take a moment to dust, vacuum or wipe them. To save time, simply replace things that take forever to clean, such as cookware under the kitchen burners.

Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom, including areas that are frequently used. If you had pets (or even if you didn't and just want to freshen things up), sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and let it sit for hours or overnight. Baking powder is a natural deodorizer that can help eliminate odors.

Taking Pictures

When you moved in, you should have taken pictures to document the state of space. When you move out, do it again. Take video if you can and make sure you document the things you upgraded or fixed.

Don't leave your junk behind

It doesn't matter how small, take it with you, donate it or throw it away. Just don't let it leave your landlord reason to say they had to hire someone to remove your mess. If they have to pay someone to remove the six foot fish, it will surely come out of your deposit. Empty and sweep out storage areas and closets. And double check the cabinets before leaving.

Return the keys

It's easy to walk out the door after your last rental check and go to your new room to begin the process again. Before you do, make the last stop and drop off the keys to your landlord. Don't get caught with a new charge for a new key you bring with you.

Where is my deposit?

So you have followed all the steps and are still waiting for your deposit. Depending on where you live, it can be anywhere up to 30 days before you see it. If it has been over 30 days, send a follow-up letter to the landlord and request your deposit. Hopefully, the landlord simply forgot and needed only one reminder.

If it's been a couple of weeks after that follow-up letter, and you still haven't received it, it's time to get legal. This can be a hassle and take time out of your busy schedule, and an unscrupulous landlord can use it to their advantage, but it's your money, and you're entitled to it. You may need to bring a civil suit to get it back.

Moving is a hassle and can be expensive. Help keep costs down by keeping good records and preserving your space so you can get your deposit back as you go.


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