How to Get Your Deposit Back (Renting 101)
We've all been there: you locate your dream rental home or apartment, pay a large deposit to your landlord or leasing company, move in, and enjoy several happy years in your new home. Then something unexpected happens. You move on because you find a new career, your family grows, or you simply want a change of scenery. And then look for another ideal location. However, before you entirely split ways, you should make an effort to recover your money. It isn't always simple, but it is always worthwhile. Make the most of these suggestions to increase your chances.
Take a picture before you move in.
Or ten, twenty, or fifty. You'll be able to demonstrate that the chipped paint on the bathroom door or the minor tear in the living room carpet existed before you moved in. Make an effort to capture a time or date stamp on the photo so that you can use it as proof months (or even years) later.
Cleaning should be done thoroughly.
You should strive to leave your rental in the same condition as you found it, within reason. Now, wear and tear is a part of life. You can, at the absolute least, ensure that the area is clean. After you've moved your items out, give your house a thorough cleaning. Remember to clean the bathroom, refrigerator shelves, and the interior of the oven. These problem areas tend to collect the most grime, and if you forget to clean them, your landlord may decide to withhold your entire deposit to hire a cleaning crew, regardless of how clean the rest of the apartment is.
Know the specifics ahead of time.
When you sign your lease, look for any clauses stating that your landlord would keep a percentage of your deposit money for cleaning, painting, and repairs, among other things. Don't be scared to inquire about the deposit's purpose; it's always better to know ahead of time rather than later.
Have an open and honest discussion with your landlord.
So, despite doing everything necessary to leave your apartment in the finest possible shape, your landlord refuses to return your deposit. So, what's next? Take a deep breath before leaping to conclusions or hiring an attorney. Also, keep in mind that your landlord is just another human. Make an effort to meet with him or her in person to understand why your deposit has not been returned. Be nice and respectful, but if you honestly believe you left the property in better shape than when you arrived, remain firm. There are slumlords out there, but if you've had a nice connection with your landlord in the past, try to keep it going throughout your communication—it'll help you get your deposit back.