As a top-rated long distance moving company, and one of the most trusted corporate moving companies, we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of moves in our line of business. With so much on your brain during your move, your security deposit is normally not something you think about until you are informed that you are not getting yours back. Yikes. So we’re sharing a few tips for you here.
Your security deposit remains your money. It is expected that you get it back when you want to move out. For some tenants, however, that never happens. There are different reasons landlords withhold security deposits from tenants that are moving out. Knowing some of the pitfalls and avoiding them will help you get your money back. Below are top ways to ensure that you get your security deposit back:
Understand What Your Responsibility Is
A good understanding of what your responsibility is will always be very helpful. It is important that you understand this even before entering a lease. You also need to perform your responsibility to avoid being charged for negligence. Proper cleaning of the rental unit, for instance, is the responsibility of tenants. The scope of your responsibility will vary from place to place. Read your lease carefully for proper understanding. Is it your responsibility to perform repairs? Do you have to maintain certain parts of the property? Are you expected to give notice about your intention to move out of the unit? Knowing the scope of your responsibilities is highly recommended.
Clear Communication with Landlord or Management Firm
Another reason some people lose their security deposit is poor communication with property owners. When there is clear understanding with your landlord or management firm, your chances of getting your money back is higher. Sometimes, tenants are even penalized for making improvements. This happens when the property owner is not informed before the improvement is made. Communicate with your landlord or management firm before making any improvements. Their permissions are needed. Even when you need to repair or change a permanent installation, communicate clearly. You will also need to communicate your intention to move out with the owners of the property. Most landlord and property owners will require one to three months’ notice before you can end the lease agreement.
Cleaning and Repairs
As mentioned earlier, cleaning is majorly the responsibility of tenants. This is the case when you are living in the property as well as when you want to vacate the property. You will also be expected to clean the apartment thoroughly before you move out. For repairs, you need to understand when you are responsible. If there are damages caused by yourself, a household member or a guest, you need to repair it. If something stops working, you need to contact your landlord or management firm as early as possible. This way, the repairs can be performed in time. When you fail to do this, it may get worse and lead to other damages. The financial burden may become part of your responsibility, and be deducted from your security deposit.
From the time you sign your lease agreement, you need to stay organized. In fact, you need to start thinking of how to get your security deposit back from that time. Study all the documents you were issued. Learn about the proper procedure for ending your rental agreement. It is also important that you keep these documents organized. It is better when they are kept in one place. If you are ever confused about your responsibility, consult them or communicate with the property owner or managers. When it is time to move, comply with the proper procedure contained in your lease. This way, your landlord or management firm will have nothing against your request to move.
Take care of appliances and amenities
Not only are you responsible for the rental unit, but you are also on the hook to take care of everything in the apartment as well. It is in your best interest to care for all appliances and features that your place offers. Be sure to maintain the health and proper working of all your appliances. Not only do you not want your appliances to break down when using them, but you also don’t want to be on the financial hook for a replacement. For instance, it is important to remove the lint from your dryer vent after each drying cycle. A collection of lint could result in a fire or improper working of your machine. You also don’t want to flush anything that doesn’t decompose easily down your toilet or other drains, in case you cause a clog that could result in costly plumbing repairs. It’s also a good idea for your own health to stay on top of batteries in your smoke detectors and to change your air filters every month.
It is impossible to remember exactly how the property was when you moved in. It will definitely be impossible to prove that a hole on the wall, for instance, was there before you moved in unless you have evidence. When you document everything, however, you will have tangible proof. This gives you the chance to prove any claim you make about the condition of the rental unit and your time there. Before you move in, photograph every corner of the house when it is empty. Take note of every scratch, stain, and dent. You can share the photograph with your landlord. By doing this, you will not be held responsible for damages you did not cause.
Asking Your Landlord to Conduct a Walkthrough
Before you vacate the apartment, it is important that your landlord inspect the property. Even if the landlord doesn’t appear interested in this, suggest it. During the walkthrough, the landlord can point out things that need repairs. At this point, you can also point out damages that were there before you moved in. Your landlord will also point out parts of the house that need extra cleaning. When you are on the same page with the property owner, prepare the apartment before moving out. Clean thoroughly and take the time to repair whatever you can successfully. The walkthrough will also help you know what to focus on and avoid wasting effort and resources.
Know Your Rights
The laws guiding landlord and tenant relationship differs from place to place. You need to be familiar with the applicable laws in your area. This can be important when you want to move. Regarding your security deposit, it will be illegal for a landlord to withhold it for no tangible reason. Some states have maximum amounts landlords can collect as a security deposit. Knowing this will help you not to pay more than you need to. You can also find out information about how many days the landlord has to return your security deposit. Knowing your rights will help you get your money back, and in time too.
Your security deposit is essentially your money. There is no need to forfeit it for no tangible reason. Even before you move into an apartment, you need to be conscious about getting it back. The points discussed above will make the process smoother when you want to move. Being nice and patient will be helpful too.
Do you need reliable professionals to help with your moving? Contact us today at Colonial Van Lines. We provide highly affordable, well-detailed, and highly professional services. Our expert team will save you the stress and overwhelming experience that comes with moving and packing. We are always ready to tailor our services to your budget and moving needs. We guarantee you outstanding services that will surpass your expectations.