Even if you’re only a renter, you still have to shell out a significant chunk of change if you plan on moving. That’s why it’s so important to get your security deposit back from your old apartment. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Here’s how you can protect yourself, and get that deposit back, at least in most cases.
Start When You Move In
Before you even move in, take your new landlord on a walkthrough. Document every single damage and every dirty spot, preferably with pictures. Pay attention to walls, floorboards, floors, and ceilings. Document even tiny pin holes. Email a copy of the damages and pictures to your landlord, and keep them in a file for future use.
Read Your Lease
Another thing you should do before moving in, and before moving out, is read your lease. Some may require more notice than standard. Some may outline cleaning procedures.
Give Proper Notice
Let your landlord know you’re moving within the time spelled out in the lease, and after your lease has expired. One exception might be if the landlord refuses to properly maintain the property. Breaking a lease is usually the last option, so check state laws. In Florida, for example, you should try all other alternatives first.
Don’t Assume Your Security Deposit Can Be Used For Your Last Month’s Rent
By law, you cannot use your security deposit as your last month’s rent. Some landlords might let you do that, but it’s completely up to them. Pay your last month’s rent, and your security deposit should be returned to you within a reasonable amount of time. In Florida, it’s 15 days after moving out.
When I move out, I try to make the place look better than when I moved in, so there is no question. Here is a great move out cleaning checklist. If you don’t want to do it, you can hire a cleaning service. Let them know it’s for a move out.
Do A Move Out Walkthrough With Landlord
Now is the time to grab everything you have from your original walkthrough. Take your landlord on a walkthrough to confirm everything is damage free and clean.