How to Get Your Security Deposit Back

There are few things more disappointing than learning that your landlord is not going to give you a full security deposit return. This is especially unsettling, if you were counting on that money to cover the cost of your move or to use as a security deposit elsewhere. If you want to know how to get security deposit back, you should learn all the reasons why landlords often keep the money, and what to do to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

The first thing you should know is that just because they keep a deposit does not mean they are technically supposed to. Some landlords nitpick at the tiniest thing knowing very few tenants will actually pay to go through the legal process to get their security deposit refund. So, it is important that you do everything you can to avoid giving them the slightest reason to keep your return. Read up, especially if this is for your first apartment.

Early Lease Termination

So, you found a great deal on an apartment closer to work, but your lease isn’t up for two months. Surely your landlord won’t mind, right? Think again! If you terminate your lease early, your landlord may be legally entitled to some or all of your deposit. In this situation the only way you are eligible to receive your security deposit return is if there is a clause in your lease stating permitted reasons for breaking the lease early. In fact, the landlord can even choose to take you to court to cover the balance of the months remaining on the lease.

Failing to Pay Rent

If you are concerned with how to get security deposit back then the most important thing you need to do is pay your rent. If your landlord has to go through the trouble of evicting you then you are sure not getting a penny of your deposit back.

How to Get Security Deposit Back With Property Damage

If you break the door frame stuffing your sofa through or you accidentally put a huge hole in the wall practicing your swing with a new golf club, the cost of repairs will be coming out of your security deposit refund. Damages also include those resulted from pets. So, if your feline friend shreds all the window screens or your puppy chewed the baseboard when you were late coming home from work one day these are damages that will be deducted from your deposit. Other common damages include stains or holes in carpet, water damage to hardwood floors, cracked counters in kitchen or bath, broken doors, missing electrical outlets, damaged or missing smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors, broken windows, and failure to return keys.

It should be noted that as a tenant you are not responsible for normal wear and tear. Dirty grout, tarnished bathroom fixtures, loose handles on cabinets and drawers, very small carpet stains or wear in high traffic areas, and a few nail holes are a few examples.

The best thing you can do is make sure the home is in the condition it was originally rented, if not better. It will cost you a lot less to pay a handyman to deal with minor repairs than leaving it for the landlord. In many cases, landlords are known to get a few inflated estimates to deduct the amount from your deposit, yet fix the problem themselves. Also, although nail holes are considered normal wear, some landlords to deduct for them. Rub a bar of white soap over the holes to fill them in prior to doing your final walk-through, if you don’t have time to fill them in properly.

Unpaid Utility Bills

If the utilities get transferred directly back to your landlord’s name, they may require proof that the final bill has been paid before releasing that amount of the deposit. Take care of your final bill promptly, and make sure you get a receipt or confirmation code.

Cleaning Costs and Your Security Deposit Return

The last thing you want to do is spent time cleaning after moving out, but you don’t want the price of an expensive cleaning service coming out of your security deposit either. If you have a relative or friend looking to make some extra money, they may take care of it for you. You can rent carpet cleaner at most local grocery stores.

If you have pets, be sure to get a carpet cleaning product designed for pet odors. If your landlord smells pet odors they may keep some of your deposit to have the carpets professionally cleaned, even if you did them.

Security Deposit Refund Odds and Ends

Missing or damaged sink or tub stoppers, light bulbs, cabinet handles, and ice cube trays may cause them to keep your money, as well. Lastly, read through your lease to see if you are required to give a 30-day written notice that you won’t be renewing for another term. Sometimes, there is a tricky little departure clause that could cost you a lot of money. If you are wondering how to get security deposit back follow these tips and you should be in good shape.

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