5 Ways to Avoid Losing Your Security Deposit While Renting in California

Security depositYou take really good care of all your personal belongings. You clean the house every two or three days and invest time and energy in regular maintenance work to avoid costly repairs. You’re far from being lazy or sloppy, in all aspects of life. Does this mean that you shouldn’t worry about your relationship with your landlord and the ways in which it could impact your budget? Not exactly! Unfortunately, many landlords would invoke just about any reason to prevent their tenants from recovering their security deposit. This tactic is neither fair, nor legal. Unfortunately, recent statistics show that 36% of all tenants who did not get their deposit back did not receive a justification from their landlord. The good news is that you can avoid all this drama by simply applying the 5 easy tips listed below.

  1. Document the Condition of Your New Apartment Before You Move in. Are you worried that you may be held responsible for pre-existing damages? Create a move-in checklist and use your camera or smartphone to show what the apartment or house really looked like before you shook hands with the landlord and moved in.
  2. Take Pictures (or Video) Before You Move Out. You should also document how clean and faultless you left your Californian rental. Who knows? Five minutes after you’re gone your landlord could decide to throw an amazing party and you clearly wouldn’t want to be charged extra (or lose your security deposit) to cover damages that may be unjustly linked to your presence in the house.
  3. Analyze Your Lease. Your lease is the best source of information enabling you to stay in the safe zone and avoid potential disputes with your landlord. Just think about the fact that you could avoid so many stressful and costly confrontations by reading your lease twice. Check out the end date listed on your lease. If it doesn’t have an end date, this basically means that it automatically extends; in this case, you should give a written notice usually one month before moving out. In this phase, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to solicit a receipt from your landlord, which should state the fact that you have submitted your written notice on time.
  4. Work for It. Let’s face it: even people who are incredibly meticulous can make mistakes. Maybe you have done everything in your power to keep the place clean and inviting, but accidents do happen. Even if you didn’t stain the carpet or break the glass window, you may still have to make small adjustments to bring the rental back to its original conditions. Therefore, repaint the walls if needed, replace the dinnerware that you’ve damaged, patch holes that you made while trying to hang your paintings, fix the damages that you may have created during your stay and clean the oven, cabinets and refrigerator. If you want to go the extra mile to impress your landlord and eliminate all reasons that may stop you from recovering your security deposit, invest a little time and energy in carpet cleaning and dust and polish the furniture and the wooden floors.
  5. End This Chapter in a Gracious Manner. Schedule a walkthrough, print a checklist and ask your landlord to sign it, after the final inspection. If your busy schedule forces you to skip this step, mail the checklist to your landlord and ask him to sign it and return it. Provide a forwarding address. If you can’t collect your security deposit in person, let your landlord know that she or he can send the amount to your new address. Even if you’ve left the place in excellent condition, some landlords may still be tempted to stall or refuse to give you your money back for no apparent reason. In this situation, tell your landlord that you won’t hesitate to drag him or her to court. The mere threat of an upcoming legal action is an effective tactic enabling most tenants to get their deposit back in no time. As a last resort, you could employ the same strategy to put an end to a tiresome conflict with your landlord or property manager.

Extra Tip: Reduce Risks by Relying on a Good Apartment Finder

Renting an apartment or house in California can be a wonderful experience allowing you to live in one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in the world, get a great job, start your own business and set up and reach bigger goals in your personal and professional life. Rentals involve a minimal level of commitment and let you profit from the highest level of flexibility. Even so, your balance could be easily disrupted by an unscrupulous landlord who would do just about anything it takes to prevent you from getting your security deposit back. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to avoid such risks. Nonetheless, you can minimize risks by establishing a deeper bond with potential landlords and property managers. A good apartment finder lets you get in touch with the people who own and manage some of the most attractive for rent properties in your area of choice; not to mention the fact that the expert insight it provides could maximize your odds of finding a decent property in a specific neighborhood and save more than a few dollars on rent each month. Want to get to know your landlord before landing on his porch? By using the iConnect feature brought to you by Apartment Hunterz you could reach landlords with a few clicks, schedule convenient in-person meetings and even submit your paperwork online. Before knocking on a lessor’s door, screen him properly with a little help from Apartment Hunterz to keep risks in check and make the most of a flawless house hunt.