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Common Problem for Renters: How to Get Your Security Deposit Back

It’s a common problem if you’ve been renting an apartment. Getting your security deposit back upon moving out can sometimes be difficult. After all, you feel you’ve taken good care of the place and believe you’re leaving it in better shape than when you first moved in. And, if you took pictures or video documented any existing damage before signing the lease – you may have an easier time of it – just like taking precautions by having renters insurance when the apartment above you leaked water all over your stuff.

Your landlord can hold on to all or part of your security deposit for a number of reasons – some valid – some not. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with your lease agreement as well as renters’ rights and landlord responsibilities. Knowing the facts might keep the security deposit from turning into a heated dispute and improve your chances of getting it back.

Although it isn’t required, depending on the condition of the apartment you’re moving into, it may be a good idea to point out existing damage to the landlord or leasing office prior to moving into it and, if necessary, keep a visual record of cracked windows, broken tile, stained or chipped sinks, as well as torn carpeting to prove you weren’t the cause of the problem items.  Don’t be afraid to ask that they are repaired prior to your moving in.

In case the landlord won’t make the repairs, create a checklist if the landlord doesn’t provide you with one. List all visible damage, make a copy, sign them both…and give one of the copies to the landlord to place in your tenant file.

Another way to avoid losing your security deposit is by giving your landlord sufficient warning of your intentions to vacate. Follow the terms of your rental agreement. If your agreement specifies a 30 days’ “intent to vacate” written notice before moving out, then do so. Failure to abide to the requirement will more than likely cost you part or all of your security deposit…and, the landlord will be well within his rights to do it.

Don’t give your landlord a hard time or any other reason to withhold your security deposit. Be as agreeable as possible. If you were provided with multiple keys, garage door remotes or any other item belonging to the property owner…return them when you move out or you could be liable for replacement costs, which will be directly deducted from your deposit.

Because a substantial amount of money is often at risk with a security deposit, you may want to request that the landlord do a walk-thru with you so they can see first-hand that you’re leaving the apartment in the same state it was in when it was initially rented out to you.  But, before you do – allowing for what is considered regular wear and tear – empty it of all your belongings, clean as much as you can, and run a vacuum over the carpeting. Then, do the walk-thru.

As a final note: remember to leave your forwarding address so your landlord has someplace to send your check, which should arrive by mail usually within 30 to 60 days. When you get it you can use the money to pay for renters insurance at your new place to again protect all your stuff.

Don’t take a chance when it comes to covering all of your belongings. Renters insurance can be quite inexpensive and it can give you peace of mind knowing you’re protected. Make sure you’ve got the best renters insurance available. Call USAgencies today at (800) 420-3712 to speak to an agent to get a free quote. You can also get your renters insurance quote online.