Usually, when someone moves, their focus is on packing up everything and getting settled into their new place as fast as possible. No one likes living out of cardboard boxes. But with some of us solely thinking about the new place, we lose sight of the old. Why leave money on the table? Getting back your security deposit is a nice boost to your bank account.
#1 – Read Your Lease
This one might seem obvious, but the details of your lease might be a little foggy. You probably only read it once when you signed it. It will say on your lease how much advance notice you need to give your landlord that you are moving out. If you don’t do it in time, you can kiss your security deposit goodbye. (Before you sign that next lease, be sure you understand it.)
#2 – Notify Your Landlord
Most landlords require a 30-day notice for moving out. Some require more. Find out what yours is. Go back to Tip 1. And by “notify your landlord,” what I mean is that you need to write them a letter. Tell them that you will not be renewing your lease. You do not owe them a reason or need to justify to them why you are moving out. Just let them know you aren’t renewing. While you’re at it, add your new address to the letter and tell them you will expect the check to be sent there. The most important thing to do after you write your letter or draft an email is to make and save a copy of it for your record keeping. The last thing you need is for the landlord to say that they never got it.
#3 – Make repairs
Wear and tear are natural when it comes to living in a space, so make sure you make some minor repairs when you move out. Patch the holes, touch up the paint, do what you need to do to make the apartment look like the day you walked in.
If you got permission to paint the walls, you’ll usually need to repaint them when you move out. Check your lease.
#4 – Clean
Leave the place sparkling clean! The stovetop should look brand spanking new, and the bathroom should be so clean that my Dominican grandmother would be proud. The last you want is for the landlord to charge you for a cleaning service cause that money is coming out of your security deposit.
#5 – Don’t forget to turn in your keys
This one seems pretty self-explanatory. Turn in your keys.
#6 – Follow up
The only way you are getting your money back is if you ask for it. So if you don’t hear back from your landlord about your security deposit, send them another letter. Most states require landlords to refund the money within 30 days, but you should look into the laws in your area.
Make sure to save a copy of this letter in case you don’t hear from them. Worst case scenario, you file a civil suit against them to get your money back if you haven’t heard from them. (This is why you keep copies of all of your documents.)
To Sum it Up…
At the end of the day, moving is stressful, like super stressful. I hate it. But getting your security deposit back can help out a ton and ease the stress a bit.
Hopefully, these tips helped you or will help you in the future. No one wants to lose their security deposit. You may be over the initial sting of putting all that money down initially, but it’s money that you deserve to get back if you took care of the rental. Don’t settle or rollover if your landlord tries to push back. Look up the laws in your area and be ready. Hopefully, you won’t have any trouble, but it never hurts to be prepared.
Now that you’re moving into a new place, check out these tips on how to decorate on a budget.