How to avoid losing your rental deposit when moving
The decision to rent greatly varies from one individual to the next. It is really a matter of personal preference and circumstances. Some prefer to rent than buy, while others are renting in hopes to save up enough to buy. Although, there are many benefits to renting a property, there are downfalls as well. For starters, you are not the landlord and have very little control. In addition, you may be faced with lousy circumstances, such as losing your deposit when moving out. In fact, it is a rather common occurrence. To help you increase your chances of keeping your rental deposit when moving out, we have compiled a list of tips on how to avoid losing your rental deposit when moving.
- Document the property’s condition before you moved in. Pre-existing damage that has not been properly documented, such as stains on the carpet or holes in the wall, is the cause for many disputes over security deposits. Take pictures of every room, particularly noting any damage that existed before your arrival. Make sure to record the condition of appliances and the fresh paint on your bathroom walls. Email the photos to your landlord on the same day. This way you will have digital and time-stamped proof of the property’s condition at time of move-in.
- Know your right as a tenant. Rules on tenants rights and security deposits vary by state. Check with your city, county, and state laws for security deposit details. Landlords must abide by their local laws and statutes. For instance, they cannot withhold money for normal wear and tear, such as a dirty wall. However if there is physical damage, like a hole in the wall, your landlord owns the right to hold you responsible for all repairs.
- Read your lease and make sure you understand your landlord’s policies and expectations. What date is my rent due? Is there a grace period for late payments? Will you need to give notice that you are moving, or that’s not necessary? If you’re renting a single-family home, you may also be responsible for watering or mowing the lawn, and shoveling the sidewalk.
- Ask for permission before making permanent modifications to the property. Renters do not have the freedom to customize their home. Before making modifications run it by your landlord, and get permission in writing to avoid potential disputes later on.
- Prior to moving out, clean and repair the property as needed to get it back to its original state when you first moved in. Patch up all holes you have made from hanging family photos or mounting your TV. Inquire from your landlord for the paint brand, including the SKU number, color and finish. If you decided to paint your kid’s room their favorite color, be sure to repaint to the original color. Clean all appliances, inside and out. Clean the entire property once you have all your furniture moved out.
- Document evidence of how you left the place. Take photos on the day you moved out, in case your landlord doesn’t inspect the property’s condition right after you’ve moved out. Document each room and email your landlord the same day. This way you will have digital and time-stamped proof of the property’s condition at time of move-out.