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How to Reclaim Your Security Deposit

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There are plenty of reasons to move. You kept the property tidy and provided adequate notice of relocation, so you assume you will see a full security deposit returned. That's not always the case.

reclaiming your security deposit

Let the close (or strained) relationship with your landlord dictate your approach and make a strategic plan of action. A respectful and trustworthy tenant who communicates often and effectively will be met with a better response. However, even close bonds can quickly sour once money is involved.

Proactively ensure there is no excuse to keep your security deposit. Review copies of all paperwork for occupancy rules and miscellaneous property information. What is your responsibility?

Damages will drain your deposit

When you moved in, you should have take pictures of existing damages, previous tenant's wear and tear, and/or filled out an inspection checklist. Document any problem that you did not cause. For example, you can be charged for peeling paint, off-kilter hinges, inoperative electrical outlets, water stains, loose floorboards, broken locks and even blocked drains.

You will be liable for anything the maintenance department could have fixed for you. Be vigilant and always contact someone for help!

Entire property should be in its original condition

Fix areas where you notice depreciation:

  • Repaint walls to their original color and patch any holes from artwork or wall decor
  • Tighten hinges on kitchen cabinets
  • Thoroughly clean the refrigerator, dishwasher and oven
  • Wipe down all surfaces
  • Mop all floors
  • You may even consider shampooing the carpets as well as vacuuming

Take photographs of every room and common areas

Taking pictures is that last thing you should do before handing in your keys. If possible, ask the landlord to conduct a walk-though with you and e-mail the pictures immediately following its conclusion. The time stamp on the correspondence will be your proof that any damage incurred afterwards.

Include your forwarding address in the e-mail (where you want the deposit sent to). Do not leave until everything is fully logged.

Staff Writer  Posted by Staff Writer on January 2, 2019

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