Your security deposit is required at the time you sign your lease. Sometimes it is the first and last month’s rent, other times your property owner requires a set fee for theapartment. The purpose of the security deposit is simple: it ensures the apartment is saved for you, and helps protect the property owner from any damages or skips you might perform. But, regardless of how good of a tenant you are, if you aren’t careful, you could not get your security deposit back or get only a small amount back.
Everything from damage from your furry friends to not cleaning your apartment properly at the end of your lease could prevent you from getting your security deposit back. But, how often does a property owner really hold a person’s security deposit? You might be surprised.
In a recent study, 25 percent of all apartment renters didn’t get their security deposit back and 36 percent of those renters never even were told why by the manager. So, if you are renting, it’s important to find out the rules regarding your security deposit and how you can ensure you get it back at the end of your lease.
Get Permission for Everything You Do
You should get written permission for everything you do in your apartment. That means changing the wall color, hanging pictures, etc. That way if the property owner withholds your security deposit, you have documented proof that you were given permission to do so.
Review Your Lease Thoroughly
There are usually guidelines in your lease that tell you how to handle your security deposit and how the landlord will handle it. You should have a list of conditions that could prevent you from getting your deposit back in your rental agreement. If you don’t see them, don’t sign it. Ask the landlord to specify the terms of the deposit in your agreement, including any conditions that prevent you from getting it all or some of it back, and then sign the lease.
Before you leave the apartment, have it cleaned and then take photographs of each room. Compare these photos to those you take when you first rent the apartment. Make sure they have a date and time stamp. That way if the property owner says there is damage, you have photographic proof that the damage was there before you rented the unit.
Discuss It With Your Landlord
At the end of the lease, if your landlord refuses to give you your security deposit, talk to them. Sometimes just having a discussion as to why and what you can do may help you get at least some of it back.