Did you know that one out of four people, or 26 percent of renters, do not receive their security deposit back when moving out? Even renters who don’t abuse or damage their rental can fall victim to security deposit deception. If this has never happened to you, chances are you know someone who has lost their security deposit; it can be an incredibly frustrating and financially binding situation.
Avoid this common occurrence by following these 5 easy steps.
1. Take Notes at the Beginning
Before moving into your new rental, renters should meticulously go through the house and document any stains, damages, etc. Take photos and make a note about issues you see with the property and keep them in a safe location. It’s also a good idea to do this again after moving out in case the landlord doesn’t access the property immediately.
2. Keep Clean
One of the most reliable ways to receive your security deposit is to keep the place tidy and clean. Don’t let stains set, dust build or spills solidify – make time in your schedule for a weekly house cleaning and try to clean messes as they occur.
*Note: Renters with pets should be extra attentive to the cleanliness of their living spaces – vacuum frequently, open windows, clean up accidents and get an air filter.
3. Level With Your Landlord
Before signing a contract, discuss with your landlord the exact expectations they have on the rental. Cover things like:
• Shoveling snow
• When to pay rent
• Grace periods for rent
• Utility payments
• Lawn care
You should also talk to your landlord before moving out. Explain that you want to receive your security deposit back and ask if there is any required maintenance you should do before leaving. It is also a good idea to warn your landlord of any issues that might come as a surprise.
4. Get Permission to Make Changes
Talk to your landlord before customizing or making modifications to your home. If they approve of the idea, ask them to give you permission in writing and keep it with your records. Making unauthorized changes to the rental is one of the leading reasons renters don’t get their deposits back.
5. Know Your Rights
Knowing your realm of rights will make the process easier if you have to fight for your deposit. Landlords in California can only use deposit money for cleaning, unpaid rent and damage repair. They have 21 calendar days to fully refund the deposit after renters move out and if they are not returning the complete amount, landlords must send you an itemized statement explaining why.
For more information on leasing or renting a home, and to get more information on the importance of reliable renters insurance, visit Best Insurance Services, today.