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How to Secure Your Security Deposit Return: 5 Must-Know Steps

Man and woman scrubbing windows with brush.
If you’re similar to other renters, getting your security deposit back after moving out is important. However, did you realize that maintaining the property well is key to securing your deposit?

The need for property repairs is a leading cause of withheld security deposits by landlords and property managers. It’s wise to reduce the possible repairs required after moving out.

Keep a record of your walk-through checklist

Although the house’s condition before your move isn’t your responsibility, the landlord might blame you for any undocumented pre-existing damage. Accordingly, before you move in, thoroughly inspect each room and document its condition.

Be sure to complete and retain a copy of the walk-through checklist given by your landlord. If your landlord fails to give you a checklist, simply note any existing damage, even small ones, and any needed repairs. Take photos of anything you record as well. This can be beneficial if a dispute comes up later.

Maintain the cleanliness of your rental

Consistent cleanliness in your rental home increases the odds of getting your security deposit returned. As your stay lengthens, it becomes increasingly important to uphold your cleaning routine.

While surface cleaning tackles short-term dirt, long-term living demands regular deep cleaning. Deep cleaning involves scrubbing grout, wiping kitchen cabinets and ceiling fans, cleaning appliances (fridge, oven, microwave, dishwasher), and basic appliance maintenance.

Don’t forget to remove hair from drains, change light bulbs, and dust blinds and ceiling fans. By doing these tasks regularly, you can help prevent your landlord from withholding part of your security deposit for cleaning.

Practice caution when decorating

For the best chance of getting your full security deposit back, decorate your rental home carefully. Avoid putting excessive holes in the walls or making permanent modifications, as this could lead to costly repairs you would have to fund.

Use non-marking, removable fasteners instead of nails or screws to hang décor items. They are suitable for items of different weights and sizes and typically don’t leave wall damage upon removal.

Use coasters or pads under table legs, couches, and other heavy items to protect the floors during furniture moves. Floor damage is frequent and expensive to fix; by preparing and using the right supplies, you can prevent floor scratches or carpet tears during moves.

Minimize damage by pets or children

If you have kids or pets in your rental, you should take measures to reduce any potential damage, especially to painted walls and surfaces.

Placing furniture or other items against the walls can help protect them from scrapes, scratches, and stains. Using rugs can protect your floors and provide a cozy area for your kids.

It’s useful to designate specific areas for pets or playtime to confine any damage to a few rooms. Use top-notch cleaning products, such as magic erasers, to get rid of scuffs and scribbles.

Promptly report issues to the landlord

Maintaining regular and honest communication with your landlord is key. Early notification of maintenance issues to your landlord leads to prompt fixes. Carrying out maintenance or minor repairs can prevent major issues later.

You are responsible for any damages found after you move out. During your lease, the landlord generally pays for repairs. Reporting maintenance issues helps ensure you receive your full security deposit back when you move out.

Are you looking to relocate? Trust Real Property Management Generations to find your ideal home in Brentwood and its vicinity. Contact us now for tailored assistance, or check out our available rentals to explore your choices.

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