Tips to Keep Your Security Deposit
If you’ve ever lived in a rental apartment, you’re likely familiar with the ever-present fear that comes along with potentially losing your security deposit. After all, it’s a large sum of money, typically equal to a full month’s rent, and you are probably hoping to be able to use it as part of the down payment on your next space! If you want to recoup the full amount of your security deposit, there are some guidelines you will need to follow.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Cameras rarely lie and they could be just the key to ensure that you get back the full security deposit you’ve put down on your rental apartment. Prior to moving into a space, do a thorough walkthrough and document each room. Address any concerns or issues that you find with your landlord. Email the photos you’ve taken directly to your landlord so that you are both on the same page.
When your lease is up, you’ll have to repeat this process. Once your furniture and belongings have been removed, walk through again and snap some photos that will showcase that the space is in the same condition (aside from normal wear and tear as it is defined in your lease) as it was when you moved in.
Make Sure You’re Paid Up
It’s also possible to lose your security deposit due to other unpaid charges owed to your landlord. If, for example, you haven’t remitted one month’s rent or you’ve only offered a partial payment, the remaining balance will be deducted from your refund. This also pertains to any other expenses that might be paid directly to your landlord in addition to your rent, such as cable, internet, or pest control, to name a few.
Give Ample Notice
Your landlord only makes money off of your rental apartment if it’s occupied. For that reason, they obviously have a vested interest in making sure it stays that way and will likely have a clause within the lease that outlines the procedure for letting them know that you intend on moving. Understanding this process is integral to getting your deposit back. If, for example, your landlord requires 60 days written notice and you call him/her 15 days prior to your lease being up, there’s a good chance he/she will withhold some of your deposit to cover the extra time it will take them to get the place ready to go and find a new tenant.
Avoid Modifying the Property without Permission
What is considered a “modification” will be different from landlord to landlord. Some may consider something as benign as sticking a tack in the wall to be unacceptable, while for others it might be bigger things such as hanging shelves, changing fixtures, or painting. Regardless of how big or small the changes you want to make feel to you, it’s always a good idea to double check with your landlord, thus making sure that it won’t interfere with your ability to get your deposit back!
Be on Your Best Behavior
Failure to follow the rules and regulations outlined in your lease and put forth by whatever entity governs your rental apartment community could leave you high and dry without your deposit. In some cases, your monies may be used as restitution to repair any damages that were done as a result of your negligent behavior. In a worst case scenario, your bad behavior could lead to an eviction, ensuring that you will not see your security deposit again.
Mind Your Pets
If you share your rental apartment with a cuddly critter, you’ll likely have to give some extra TLC to get your full deposit back. Not only do animals shed, but they can also scratch walls and floors, chew baseboards and doors and stink up the space pretty significantly. Before leaving your rental, you will need to make sure that you’ve erased any traces that your pet has been there, and this can be a big job!
Get it Presentable
As you near your departure date, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and do the work that’s necessary to get your rental apartment in tip-top shape. Make the necessary repairs and deep-clean so that there’s no room for complaints. Hire professionals where it makes sense…trying to do it all on your own isn’t always the best idea!
Schedule a Final Walkthrough
Lastly, schedule a time to walk through the property with your landlord so that you both have space to address any lingering concerns that might prevent you from getting back your money!
Looking for a Rental Apartment in Hattiesburg or the Surrounding Areas?
If it’s time to relocate, the team at Hattiesburg Apartments is here to help you find your new home! We’ve got some great options to share with you! Take a look through our database of available units today and reach out to start hunting!