Rental security deposits are often a substantial amount of money, so walking away from a deposit at the end of your lease is financially unwise. After all, that money can go toward renting a new apartment or upcoming moving expenses. Luckily, there are things you can do to help ensure you get your deposit (or at least as much of it as possible) back at the time of your move. Here are five ways to make sure you get your deposit back:
Have the Carpet Steam Cleaned
Carpets seem to take the most wear and tear and are often the hardest part of your apartment to keep totally clean. Over the course of your lease, that friend who always wears shoes inside, the coffee you spilled and didn't do a great job cleaning up, and of course any messes caused by pets or children all take their toll on your carpet.
The quickest and most effective way to deal with this is to have the carpet professionally steam cleaned, leaving it stain-free, bright, and fresh. Your landlord will be impressed when they see your carpet looks brand-new.
Deep Clean the Entire Place
This isn't the time for a light, quick cleaning. Instead, it's time to clean your place top-to-bottom. This includes cleaning those often-overlooked things like baseboards and the inside of your oven. This deep cleaning checklist is a great guide, and you will feel like you're really accomplishing something if you print the list and cross items off as you go. You may also want to enlist the help of a significant other or a few friends to tackle the deep cleaning in a more efficient manner--you can always offer to help them with a similar task the next time they need it.
Make Small Repairs
One of the main causes of lost deposits is when you leave things damaged in any way and your landlord has to pay an expensive repair company to fix those damaged items. It's always best to make small repairs yourself, or enlist the help of a more handy friend if DIY repairs are not quite your thing. That rod in your closet that fell down, or the switch plate that needs new screws should definitely be dealt with before you move out.
Undo any Changes
Unless you have written permission from your landlord, and they have specified that your deposit won't be affected, you should undo any changes you made to your apartment. This means that white bathroom you painted lilac should be painted white again, and the light fixtures you switched out with something more your style should be switched back again.
The key to getting your deposit back is often to leave your apartment as close to the condition it was in when you moved in as possible. Just remember that doing your own paint job and other small tasks will probably cost way less than if the landlord hires a professional and then takes the cost out of your deposit.
Do a Walk-through (And Document It!)
Finally, once your place is in spotless, tiptop shape, it's time to do a walk-through with your landlord. If you landlord doesn't offer to document the walk-through, you should do it yourself. Take photos to document how clean and in good repair the place is, and have your landlord sign off on something indicating that you have left the apartment in great condition. If the landlord doesn't have their own walk-through form, you can print one from here.
By following these five tips, you will greatly increase your chances of getting that security deposit back at the end of your lease.
For more information and help, consider hiring your own cleaning service company, such as Boss Systems Carpet Cleaning.