One of the most annoying parts of moving into an apartment for rent is handing over your security deposit. You may think you’ll never see it again. However, there are simple ways to ensure that you’re refunded when you come to the end of your lease. We’ve put together a handy list of tips to ensure that you know exactly how to get your security deposit back.

Make sure you read your lease.

There might be a lot of print on there, but it’s important to understand every part of your lease when you move. Ensure that you read it all carefully. Not following all of the rules outlined in it could cause you to lose your security deposit. If your apartment or home for rent has a no pet or no smoking policy, be sure to respect it or find a different rental. 

Do an initial walkthrough.

If you’re asking yourself how to get your security deposit back before you’ve even moved into your apartment, this one’s for you. Do an initial walkthrough of your apartment. You can take note of anything lacking or damaged in the apartment. These could be things such as holes in the walls, cracks in the paint, and other small repairs which need to be made, because doing these repairs can help you keep your security deposit. If you take photos of these problems, you can avoid being held liable for them if they’re still there when you move out. That will help to get your security deposit back. Download our apartment move in checklist to keep track of the condition of the apartment when you move in. 

Give your notice well in advance.

This is one of the easiest things you can do when you’re figuring out how to get your security deposit back: make sure that you tell your landlord that you’re moving out as far in advance as you can. Your lease may even clarify exactly how long you need to give notice ahead of time. Sometimes this can be as much as a month in advance, so it’s a good thing to keep in mind. If you don’t notify your landlord in time, your landlord could use that as a reason to keep your security deposit. 

Leave your apartment clean.

This one might be obvious, but it’s never a bad idea to give your apartment a thorough cleaning before you move out. You could even bring in an outside cleaning company to ensure that everything is as squeaky clean as possible. Your goal should be to get it as close as it can be to the way it was when you moved in. That will help to guarantee that your security deposit is refunded. No scuff marks or stains can become reasons for your landlord to keep the deposit. 

Do a final walkthrough with the landlord.

Bring a copy of the initial walkthrough list and go over all the items highlighted at that time with your landlord. If there is damage, you will know right away, and you can talk to the landlord about the best solution. Make sure you both agree on the state of the apartment by signing off. Then, hand over all the keys. Occasionally, landlords may discover less obvious problems during a visual inspection, but this should give you a lot of confidence moving out. 

Make your final payment.

Your final month’s rent being outstanding could serve as a reason for your landlord to keep your security deposit. To avoid this, make sure you’re current on your rent. Be sure to pay the last month before you go. This includes any other fees that you may pay to live in your apartment. Keep a copy of your receipt around until you receive your security deposit.

Give a forwarding address.

This one is so easy to forget! Definitely make it clear where your landlord should send your security deposit. Often, this will be the next place you live, but it could also be your direct deposit information. Having your new address will also be helpful in case any of your mail ends up going to your old apartment.  

Follow up.

If you don’t hear from your landlord concerning your security deposit, make sure you follow up with them. It’s entirely possible that your landlord has forgotten to communicate with you about your deposit. They could also be missing some information. In this case, being proactive is the best way forward. Make sure that you’re being as communicative as possible about the status of your security deposit.

Know the law.

This will vary depending on the state and even city in which you live. Wherever that may be, you should always make note of tenants’ rights concerning security deposits. For example, your landlord may be required to give you your deposit back within a certain amount of time. By understanding these details, you can ensure that your landlord is following local laws and upholding the rights you have to your security deposit.

Don’t write off your security deposit too soon! By taking a few careful steps, you can make sure that you get a refund at the end of your lease. If you’ve been wondering how to get your security deposit back, we hope that this handy list of tips helps you figure out what you might be able to do to ensure that you don’t lose it.

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