Know Before You Rent

Tips to Follow to Get All of Your Security Deposits Back

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Security deposits can add up to a lot of money when they’re made on a rental unit. Some landlords charge renters a month’s rent for a security deposit, others want the first and last month, while still others will set a dollar amount. Landlords hold security deposits to help cover the cost of repairs if a renter moves out and leaves damage behind.

But because security deposits are a lot of money, it’s in the best interest of the renter to make every effort to have the full security deposit returned upon leaving the rental agreement.

Here are some tips to follow that can help you keep your security deposits:

  1. Follow all the terms of the lease – Lease agreements stipulate rent payments, how long the renter will occupy the property and other regulations specifying what the renter will do and what the landlord will take care of. Failing to pay rent one month, for example, could result in the landlord not returning the security deposit.
  2. Take care of the property – Treating the rental unit as if you owned it is the best way to care for the property. Try to prevent, and clean up, stains on the flooring or carpet, ask the landlord if nails can be used on the walls or if another hanging method is preferred, and use the appliances with care. Of course, if anything breaks or is damaged, either by yourself or because it’s in need of maintenance, contact your landlord to discuss ways to get the damage repaired.
  3. Don’t break your lease – Breaking a lease will likely prevent you from receiving a security deposit refund, and might also make a mark on your rental history report, which could cause potential future landlords to reconsider renting to you. Options to consider are subletting your apartment through the end of the lease (if allowed by the landlord), or continuing to pay the rent, even if you’re not living in the apartment any longer.

Many renters will use the returned security deposit from one rental unit as the security deposit for the next, which means they need to take every precaution – like the above mentioned tips – to make certain that security deposit is refunded.

When you start looking for a new apartment first make sure your rental history report doesn’t contain “errors”, especially if you’ve had problems getting your deposit back from your landlord.