10 Tips to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back–FAST

Nobody wants to leave money on the table. Your rental security deposit is refundable in most cases. Take a look at these 10 tips to get your money back with very little delay. Don't lose a penny to your landlord! These easy tips will help you close the door on this chapter and move on–with a little extra money in your pocket.
Ross Sapir
By Ross Sapir
Getting your deposit back
5 Min Read

A Pre-Move-in Inspection Helps Cover Your Assets

When you moved into your apartment, did you do a pre-move-in inspection and take a bunch of notes about pre-existing conditions? Did you take photos of the apartment's condition before moving your belongings in? If you did, great! You’ll want to find those things and share them with your landlord. If not, no problem. Here’s a review of what to do to get your deposit back and move on with your life.

1. Know What You Agreed To

There’s a good chance your lease agreement fell behind the fridge a long time ago. Wherever it ended up, find it now. Read through it a few months before you plan to move out of your apartment. You’re looking for things like how much notice you need to give before moving out and what kind of condition you need to leave the place in. This is the article to get all the details about getting the most, if not all, of your deposit back.

2. Sayonara–Tell Them You’re Leaving

Refer to your lease to determine how much notice you need to give before moving out and how to tell them you’re leaving. Some landlords want your notice in writing, and others don’t care. It’s in the lease. Either way, the earlier you can give notice, the better, but be sure to tell them on time.

3. You Broke It–You Fix It

Your landlord should return all of your security deposit when you move out unless your apartment has been damaged beyond normal wear and tear. So make sure there’s not too much wear and tear. Fill any nail holes in the walls. If the lease states that the carpet is your responsibility, call someone to get the wine stain or the rip fixed. You can replace the bent shower curtain with one from the hardware store; they’re cheap. Do these things before you have any inspections. Even if there is a new landlord, you still have the right to get your deposit back.

4. “Clean Up, Aisle Me!”

You don’t have to go crazy with the cleaning, but you should give your apartment a good clean-up once in order to get your deposit back. It’s not that hard to make an impression by getting stains out of the sink and shower, mopping the floors, vacuuming, whatever. Just make it look good. Click here for more cleaning tips.

5. Schedule A Walk-Through

You may not want to ask your landlord for a date, but you sorta have to. You need to schedule a walk-through inspection with your landlord a week or two before moving out. Have your lease and any other helpful docs you can reference during the meeting in hand. Talk to your landlord about anything that might need addressing to get your deposit back.

6. Fix It Before It Becomes a Problem

If anything comes up in the walk-through meeting, get the issue documented and resolved. This might mean renting a carpet cleaner, replacing the window crank you used as a hammer once, or painting, which isn’t common but happens sometimes. By the way, if you choose to move with muuv–you can tap into a network of professionals, including a master carpenter who can make everything look as good as new or even better.

7. Final Inspection Must-Haves

Have your landlord come over for a final inspection a day or two before leaving the place. Get word from them that everything looks good. Again, have your lease in hand for the meeting just in case. Leave your forwarding address, so they know where to send the check. You can also see if they will Venmo or Zelle you–provide your info to make it easy.

8. Take Everything

Ready to leave your landlord with nothing to do but be stunned by your awesomeness?

Be sure you leave nothing behind–even if you just throw it in the dumpster. Be sure that every room is completely empty. Then vacuum one more time and wipe down the counters on your way out.

9. Give Up Your Key

They’re going to rekey the lock anyway, but you still have to give the keys back. A little-known fact is that they reuse the keys in a different door when they’re sure you’re gone. Give the keys back along with any copies you made for your mom, BFF, partner–whomever. Also, return your parking permit tags on your way out.

10. Take A Bunch Of Photos

We’re not talking about selfies here folks. You don’t have to post these photos but take many of them. Take several pictures of each room, just in case there’s any deposit dispute later. 

Remember, you have the right to get your deposit back–so get it! If you follow these ten tips–your landlord must return all of your security deposit when you move out.

There are so many ways to guarantee your move-out goes smoothly. You can continue prepping and find more tips and tricks here.

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