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How to Get Your Security Deposit Back

Are you about to make your move into a new rental, and are worried about getting your security deposit back? Here are 9 tips to help get the full deposit back quickly.

Review Your Lease

review your lease

Before moving out, it is important to first read your lease again. The lease will describe when and how to notify your landlord that you are leaving, and will provide you with information about the requirements for getting your security deposit back, and how long the landlord has to return it.

Document Damage

When you first move into your new place, you should take photos to document any pre existing damage and send them to your landlord at the beginning of your rental home. This includes holes or marks in the wall, and general wear and tear in the home. By providing proof of damages that occurred before you, you are more likely to receive the full deposit at the end of your rental term.

taking picture of house

Give Proper Notice

calling landlord

The general expectation for proper notice of leaving a rental is 30 days, though this length can vary by state. Refer to your lease’s terms and conditions to ensure you follow proper lease termination protocol. Giving your landlord proper notice in advance can increase your likelihood of receiving the full deposit back.

Conduct a Walk-through

Before leaving the rental, ask the landlord to complete a walk-through of the property with you. When doing this, the landlord can point out what needs to be repaired and cleaned before moving out. Knowing the landlord’s expectations upfront allows you to focus on changing what matters to get that deposit, instead of spending time and effort on areas of the rental that will be overlooked.


Repair Damage

repair home damage

Once you have completed the walkthrough with your landlord, use this information to fix any damage that occurred to your home during the rental term. In some cases, you will be able to complete this on your own, such as patching small holes and repainting. In other cases, you will need to consult the help of a professional, such as a plumber to fix the sink or an electrician to replace a lighting fixture.

Clean Thoroughly

In addition to making repairs, you should also clean the rental as thoroughly as possible. This involves scrubbing the floors, wiping down the inside and outside of appliances, cleaning countertops, and disinfecting toilets. The more clean the home is, the more likely you will receive the deposit back in full.

home cleaning

Do Your Own Inspection

home inspection

After repairs are made and cleaning is complete, conduct one last walkthrough with the landlord to ensure that every area of the home is up to standard. Make sure to receive their feedback and make any changes accordingly.

Return the Keys

After you have moved out, return the rental keys to the landlord. Be sure to consult the lease, or contact the landlord for information on whether to return them by mail or in person. Additionally, if you lent out or lost any spare keys, notify the landlord as soon as possible so they can quickly replace the locks.

home keys

Contact Your Landlord

contact your landlord

Upon moving out, contact your landlord to request the security deposit back and give them your new address for mailing. Typically, the landlord has 30 days to return the deposit, but this length of time can vary depending on the lease. If your landlord responds that they will be taking part or all of the deposit to pay for damages, ask them for an itemized list of the deductions and damages.



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