The dreaded security deposit is an obstacle for many first-time renters. But the only thing worse than having to dish it out is not getting it back.
The good news is that, with just a little bit of care and effort, that money is legally yours—and you’re entitled to get it back.
Getting Your Security Deposit Refund Back
The time to start thinking about your security deposit is when you’re moving in, not when you’re moving out. Here’s a checklist to keep you on track.
- Take photos or a video of the property when you first move in, and again when you move out. This will serve as proof if your landlord claims you cause damage that was already there when you moved in. Pay special attention to things like stains in the carpet or broken blinds.
- Research your state’s laws, so that you know exactly what rights you have.
- Use removable hooks to hang artwork. If you’re thinking about painting, be sure to receive written permission from your landlord that you may do so without risking your security deposit.
- Be sure to leave your residence in the condition you found it in terms of cleanliness.
When Can a Landlord Keep Your Security Deposit?
A landlord can keep your deposit if you break your lease or, if your lease is month-to-month, do not give proper notice before moving out. Your landlord may also keep your deposit if you left unpaid utility bills or failed to return your keys.
Beyond those reasons, your landlord would need to prove true damage to the property, not just normal wear and tear. Example of damage includes broken windows or doors, large stains on the carpet, water damage to hardwood floors, or smoke detectors that have been broken.
If you’re moving on to another rental, self storage for renters
can give you the extra space—and time—you need to get organized. At StorageMart, all of our units can be rented on a month-to-month basis—and they’re always clean, well-lit, and easy to use. Need more info? Learn how easy it is to rent a unit online