How to Get Your Security Deposit Back After Moving

Eighty-percent of moves occur between the months of April and September. One of the biggest concerns amongst home or apartment renters is getting back their security deposit. In some cases, this can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Rug Doctor is all about saving you money. We put together these expert tips below to help you get your full security deposit back after moving out of a rental property.
  1. Re-read your lease. Hopefully, you read through your lease before moving in and followed the terms of your lease throughout your stay. However, it is important to re-read your lease and identify any terms that may prevent you from getting your full deposit back. For example, is there an automatic cleaning fee? Do you have to give a particular amount of notice to management that you will not be renewing your lease, or that you are terminating your lease early? Did you abide by all the terms (for instance, no pets or no smoking)? Understanding your lease will help manage your expectations to receive your full security deposit back.
  2. Request a copy of your walk-through condition form. Most rental properties will have you complete a walkthrough condition form before moving in. This is where you have a chance to note the condition and damages or issues with the property BEFORE moving in and you should not be responsible for these things when moving out. If you did not keep a copy, request a copy from your landlord. If the landlord did not address the issues you noted on this form during your lease term, you are not responsible for these things now. If you did not complete one of these forms, keep this tip in mind for your new place. If your new landlord has not provided you with one, ask for one!
  3. Repair any changes or damages. Remove nails and fill holes with putty. Paint walls back to original color. Handle the simple repairs yourself and hire a professional (plumber or electrician) for more complicated repairs. Hiring your own professional will usually be cheaper than letting the landlord take it out of your deposit.
  4. Deep clean the home. Most rental properties will provide a move-out cleaning checklist. If they did not, request it. Do not skip anything listed on the checklist. Thoroughly clean all items on the list, including: base boards, appliances, sinks, toilets, bathtub/shower, windows, floors and carpets. There is no need to purchase a deep cleaner or hire a service to deep clean your carpets. Visit the Rug Doctor store locator and find a rental location near you. Rent our Pro Deep Cleaner for a do-it-yourself professional-level clean. The Pro Deep Cleaner has powerful suction that extracts dirt, stains and odor from deep beneath the surface of the carpet. And you will save a ton of money versus hiring a service. You can rent the Pro Deep Cleaner for 24 hours for as little as $39.99.
  5. Schedule time with the landlord to do a walkthrough TOGETHER. Schedule a move-out walk through with your landlord before returning the keys. This will give you the chance to discuss your landlords concerns before they become a dispute. Have your move-in walkthrough condition form and move-out cleaning checklist on hand to help quickly determine the responsible party and resolve any issues that arise.
  6. If you do not receive your full security deposit back, request an itemized list of deductions and damages. If you did the move-out walkthrough together, there shouldn’t be any surprises. You have the right to ask for receipts regarding repairs. Do your best to resolve your differences with your landlord, as obtaining legal counsel is costly.   
Your landlord has a legal responsibility to return your deposit within a specific time period. Review this chart of state-by-state deadlines for retuning security deposits to know when you should expect to receive yours. Congratulations and good luck in your new home!