If you have ever rented an apartment, condo, or house, chances are you had to give your landlord a security deposit before moving in. For some this can be a substantial amount of money, ranging from a half or a full months rent sometimes. A security deposit is intended to pay for damages that a renter may have left after moving out, so if you’re a well behaved tenant you should have no issues getting that money back. Unfortunately, according to multiple studies, the majority of renters do not receive any of their security deposit back. To ensure you get all or most of your deposit, make sure and follow these simple tips.
Document all existing defects before moving in
Moving into a new place can be exciting, but don’t let that excitement get in the way of noticing any defects with the property. Most apartment complexes give you a form to fill out before move in that outlines any existing damages. Go through the property with a fine tooth-comb and find every defect imaginable. If your landlord doesn’t give you a form to fill out, create your own list to give to them before moving in. This will protect you from being charged a crazy amount for that tiny chipped piece of trim that was already there.
Read your contract and abide by the rules
Make sure you know all the rules set in place by your landlord and follow them. Things like installing new light fixtures, painting rooms, or having multiple pets can sometimes cause you to break the terms of the lease. Read the entire contract and know exactly what you can and cannot do. If your landlord gives you verbal permission to do something that is not outlined in the contract, make sure to get it in writing with their signature.
Keep it clean
Leaving your apartment smelling like old pizza is just asking for the landlord to start his inspection with a negative attitude. Clean that place better than you have ever cleaned it before. A lot of contracts have a mandatory cleaning fee that comes out of your deposit. Even if this is the case, clean it anyways. You do not want to give your landlord any excuse to take more than they should. After cleaning, ask to be present during the inspection and bring the list you created of existing defects before moving in.
Be informed of your rights as a renter
Did you know as a tenant of a rental property, you are awarded certain rights by the government? As a renter, you are protected by unjust practices such as, the actual amount asked for a security deposit, charges for ordinary wear and tear to the property, and not supplying a written list of charges to be taken out of a security deposit. In 47 states it is against the law for a landlord to take any amount of money out of your deposit without an itemized list of the damages and the cost to repair them. To find out about all your rights as a renter visit www.tn.gov/health/article/renters.