Sunday, October 7, 2018

Getting Your Security Deposit Returned

Between the stresses of searching for a new place, packing your things, coordinating movers, actually moving, and finally unpacking at your new home, the security deposit from your prior residence almost becomes an afterthought. The trouble is, landlords know this, and often take advantage of your stress by making all sorts of deductions from the security deposit that they know you won’t question. Some even go so far as to keep the entire security deposit without providing ANY accounting of where the money went. However, there are many things you can do to maximize the amount of money you get back from your security deposit.

1. Give your landlord enough notice before you move out.

The law does not automatically require a tenant to give advance notice to their landlord that they plan to vacate in order to get back their security deposit. But check your lease agreement! If your lease agreement explicitly states that advance notice is required in order to refund the security deposit, you must provide your landlord notice of your intent to vacate according to the terms of the lease.

2. Clear Expectations.

Make sure both you and your landlord have a clear understanding about what condition the premises must be left in. This way, you minimize the risk of under-cleaning and having your landlord deduct money from your security deposit, or over-cleaning by hiring a professional service, taking money directly out of your pocket.

3. Trust, But Verify.

Ask to be present when your landlord conducts their final inspection. If you cannot be present when your landlord conducts their inspection, walk through the premises and take pictures and videos of the condition of the property.

4. Don’t Walk Away Into the Sunset.

It might look very dramatic in the movies, but leaving without letting your landlord know where you are going can cost you some serious cash. Make sure you tell your landlord IN WRITING where he or she can send the money that is rightfully yours.

The underlying theme is simple: communicate with your landlord. The more you and your landlord are on the same page, the higher your security deposit refund can be.