Three Ways To Ensure You Get Your Apartment Deposit Back


Renting an apartment usually means handing over a relatively large sum of money in the form of a security deposit. Getting the full amount back can be difficult. In some cases, a landlord may try to deduct the cost of repairing damage to the unit or the cost of having the space cleaned. Here are a few ways to make sure you get your money back when you are ready to move.

Make Small Repairs Yourself

Be sure to make small repairs to your apartment before moving out. These should not be repairs that your landlord is responsible for, such as fixing problems with the plumbing or electrical wiring that you didn't cause yourself. Repairs you should handle before moving might include:

  • Replacing damaged window blinds or shades
  • Patching holes in the wall left by nails and other mounting hardware
  • Buffing scratches in hardwood floors
  • Deep clean carpets with stains (or hire a cleaning service to do this for you)

If you are not comfortable doing these repairs on your own, weigh the cost of hiring a contractor with the potential loss from your security deposit. If the cost is more than you expect to save, take pictures of the damage instead. Should the landlord decide to withhold a large sum from you, use the pictures as proof of the actual damage. You may be able to make an argument in small claims court to recover some of the security deposit.

Hire A Cleaning Service

Many cleaning services have a package for renters who are moving out. The service will make sure that the walls are washed, the counters and shelving are dusted, the bathrooms and kitchen are scrubbed and the windows are washed. In the midst of packing and unpacking your belongings, cleaning can fall to the bottom or your priority list, so let someone else handle the job for you. Remember that if you don't clean, your landlord will charge you for the cost of cleaning your apartment. By hiring a service, you can control the expense and get more money back from your deposit.

Paint The Walls

Your landlord will likely want to repaint your apartment, particularly if you lived there for several years or if you have small children. Painting is a low-cost way to make your apartment look fresh and clean, especially if you do the work on your own. Choose a color that is a close match to your existing paint color to keep the apartment looking like it did the day you moved in. If you painted your  home after you moved, your lease may require you to bring the colors back to neutral. Failing to do so could mean an automatic deduction from your deposit. Be sure the walls are painted after your cleaning service washes them so you have a clean canvas for your project.

Before you move into any apartment, be sure to take pictures of the entire space, including every wall, ceiling and floor. When you move out, take the same pictures and offer them as a comparison so your landlord can see that the home is just as clean and beautiful the day you move out as it was the day you moved in. Once you've made the proper repairs and had the apartment cleaned professionally, you should be able to get more of your deposit money back.


1 October 2015

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