How to Plan for the Return of Your Rental Security Deposit
Tips for Renters

How to Plan for the Return of Your Rental Security Deposit

Nov 13, 2019

Saving up to move to another apartment can be a challenge by itself.

Having all of the money for your new home’s rent, deposits and moving expenses takes diligence and planning. One way to help alleviate the money stretch that can happen during this transition, is to be sure that you get your security deposit back for the apartment you’re leaving.

Be realistic about what is “normal wear and tear” versus “damage” that might keep you from getting all the money you paid in. Being prepared can help when you meet with your landlord to show your clean, undamaged apartment and make your case, if needed, to get all of your deposit returned. And if you do have damage, being up-front with your landlord can lead to better negotiation for the return of your deposit.

  • Take lots of pictures of your apartment before you move in. (Be sure to save them somewhere you will remember, for your future reference.) This will not only be proof for your landlord of the condition you found the apartment in when you moved in, but it will also serve as a reminder to you of what you moved into. If there were things that you compromised on, such as condition of the flooring or paint, clear dated photos can back up your memory. It can also remind you to not settle for that in your new home.
  • Be sure to review your lease to refresh your memory of what you agreed to – and what your landlord will be looking for when deciding to return all, or a portion, of your security deposit. This should also help you read your new lease more closely and pay attention to what you are agreeing to.
  • Review the timeline for inspection of your empty apartment and the return of your deposit. Be sure both you and your landlord stick to the arrangement.
  • Don’t rely on one security deposit to pay the next. You’ll always be behind and frustrated at a time you don’t need added stress. Wait to move until you can really afford the rent and the deposits.
  • Plan enough time to clean your empty apartment. Depending on your deposit amount, it might be cost effective to hire someone for a couple of hours to get the final cleaning done for you.
  • Before you have the landlord in for the final inspection, have a friend go through the apartment and make a list of each room, noting the condition. A different set of eyes will see things you might miss. Having a list for the landlord will save time and add to the respect between you and your landlord. Remember, your current landlord will be a reference for your next apartment, and maybe even the one after that!

Some realistic review and planning on your part can help your cash flow, ease the transition to your new apartment and establish your reputation as a responsible renter.


Written By Melanie Olsen