Security Deposit: Easy Ways to Get Yours Back

safety deposit

Get Back Your Security Deposit

A security deposit can be quite a bit of extra cash in your pocket when moving out of a rental property.  Unfortunately, getting that deposit back isn’t always guaranteed.  With a little planning ahead of time, you can be more sure to receive your deposit back upon moving out.

Moving In

When moving into a new space, you typically don’t know your date of move out,.  That’s ok, but think about moving out in the near or distant future, and get your security deposit returned with less stress. There are a few essential and proactive steps to take upon moving into your rental property that will help you enormously when it comes to moving out.  

  1. Take pictures and videos of your rental property prior to unpacking boxes and getting settled.  Include any dents, small scratches, repairs needed, carpet stains, or other imperfections.
  2. Report any noticeable issues ASAP throughout your time as a tenant.  The quicker you make your Landlord aware of any issues or repairs needed, the less likely you will be held liable (if you didn’t cause the damage).
  3. If you make any improvements or upgrades to the rental property, ask your landlord prior to doing so.  Document the install with pictures and share those pictures with your landlord.
  4. Ask Questions- Go ahead and ask your Landlord some of the important questions you will have when you move out.  
    1. What is considered normal wear and tear?
    2. Is there an additional charge for repainting walls?
    3. Who is responsible for lawn maintenance?
    4. Is there an additional pet deposit? If so, what does it cover?
  5. Most importantly, be polite and respectful to your landlord throughout your stay as a tenant.  Building a relationship with your landlord will ultimately make your stay in the property more pleasant, including the move out process.

Moving Out

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Prior to giving notice of your move out date, confirm the expectations and notice deadlines for moving out.  Double check terms for breaking the lease. Some landlords don’t accept a break in the lease unless notified in advance.  
  3. Submit the required notice prior to moving out (it is typically 30 days notice in most states).
  4. Take pictures and videos the day of move out.  If possible, email these to the landlord same day.
  5. Leave a forwarding address and an address to send the security deposit (if these two addresses are different).
  6. Know your renters rights and the state laws regarding security deposit limits and deadlines. If a landlord doesn’t have a forwarding address for your security deposit, some states allow the landlord to keep that money.
  7. Request that your Landlord completes the walk through with you, or request an itemized receipt of any damages/charges are applied during your move out,
  8. Request the name of the paint used, or a sample if needed.  Use this paint to patch holes and small damages.
  9. Have carpet professionally cleaned. Deep clean the property or hire professionals to clean it.  
  10. Remove all items that are yours.  
  11. If possible, coordinate your move out on the same day as your roommate.  
  12. Ask friends to conduct a mock inspection of your space, prior to moving out an submitting.

Overall, having your security deposit returned is never a sure thing, Following these tips will have you well on your way to receiving yours.  Still curious about if you should buy or rent? Check out our post to help you decide which is right for you.

About the Author

Prior to selling real estate, Brenda worked in the mortgage industry for over twenty years. She worked for companies such as Freddie Mac and HomeBanc in numerous capacities from underwriter to executive management. Her thorough knowledge of the mortgage industry is an asset in these times of stricter loan qualifications. Brenda's commitment to continual education keeps her on the cutting edge of current market conditions and trends.

Her professional confidence and easy going style comforts clients through this sometimes stressful situation. Brenda is committed to negotiating the absolute best deal for her sellers.