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How to Secure Your Security Deposit Return: 5 Must-Know Steps

Man and woman scrubbing windows with brush.
Most renters, including you, want to recover their security deposit after leaving. Did you know that keeping the property in good condition greatly increases your chances of getting your deposit back?

The need for property repairs is a leading cause of withheld security deposits by landlords and property managers. Decreasing the number of repairs needed once you move out makes perfect sense.

Keep a record of your walk-through checklist

The home’s state before you move in isn’t your responsibility, but without proof, the landlord might pin existing damage on you. Thus, it’s important to walk through every room and record the condition before moving in.

Ensure you complete and keep a copy of the walk-through checklist your landlord provides. In case your landlord doesn’t provide a checklist, note all damages, even minor ones, and any needed repairs. Take photos of anything you record as well. This will be valuable in case of a future dispute.

Maintain the cleanliness of your rental

Keeping your rental home consistently clean boosts the likelihood of getting your security deposit back. Staying on top of your cleaning routine becomes more crucial the longer you live in your rental.

Surface cleaning manages short-term grime, but regular deep cleaning is essential for long-term stays. Include scrubbing grout, wiping kitchen cabinets and ceiling fans, cleaning appliances (fridge, oven, microwave, dishwasher), and basic maintenance in your deep cleaning.

Don’t forget to remove hair from drains, change light bulbs, and dust blinds and ceiling fans. By doing these tasks regularly, you can help prevent your landlord from withholding part of your security deposit for cleaning.

Practice caution when decorating

For the best chance of getting your full security deposit back, decorate your rental home carefully. Don’t make many holes in the walls or any permanent changes, as this could lead to costly repairs you’d have to cover.

Non-marking, removable fasteners are a better choice than nails or screws for hanging décor items. These hooks support items of different weights and sizes and typically don’t damage the wall when removed.

Employ coasters or pads under table legs, couches, and heavy items to protect floors during furniture relocation. Floor damage often occurs and is expensive to repair; by planning ahead and using the right supplies, you can prevent floor scraping or carpet tearing.

Minimize damage by pets or children

If you have kids or pets in your rental, you should take measures to reduce any potential damage, especially to painted walls and surfaces.

To protect walls from scrapes, scratches, and stains, place furniture or other items against them. Rugs not only protect floors but also create a comfortable play area for your children.

Limiting pets or playtime to designated areas can restrict damage to just a few rooms. High-quality cleaning materials like magic erasers can effectively remove scuffs and unwanted scribbles.

Promptly report issues to the landlord

Maintaining regular and honest communication with your landlord is key. By informing your landlord early about maintenance issues, they can fix them right away. Addressing maintenance or minor repairs early can help avoid major repairs down the line.

You must take responsibility for any damages observed after you move out. The landlord usually handles repair expenses during your lease. By addressing maintenance problems, you increase the likelihood of getting your full security deposit back when you leave.

Are you planning to relocate? Trust Real Property Management Wake County to find your ideal home in Cary and its vicinity. Today, contact us for personalized assistance, or browse our available rentals to discover your options.

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