Security deposits are among the more significant finances involved with renting your first apartment. These deposits cover any damage you cause to your apartment, and even the most careful tenants can easily cause minor damage to their first apartments. After you move out, your landlord will subtract the monetary equivalent of any damage you cause from your deposit.
That said, if you’re clean and careful with your apartment, If you know the below five common security deposit deductions your landlord can take, you’ll be in especially good shape.
1. General cleaning
Leaving your apartment dirty will result in your landlord deducting from your security deposit to cover cleaning costs. Even basic apartment-wide cleaning tasks can run a deduction into the double-digits. So to avoid being charged for excessive cleaning costs, keep up with your cleaning routine, and leave your apartment “broom clean.”
It’s essential to leave your apartment in the same condition as when you moved in so you can receive your full deposit when you move out. After removing your belongings, use a broom, vacuum, mop, and other cleaning supplies of choice to achieve that squeaky-clean initial condition (or at least get your apartment as clean as it was when you first moved in).
2. General repairs
Surface-level repairs and maintenance, such as repainting or sealing holes in the wall, can cause a significant reduction in how much you receive from your security deposit. It’s best practice to fill any large holes you’ve created before you leave as well as smaller holes from nails, screws, and the like. Many people use spackling paste for this purpose.
More in-depth repairs, such as plumbing and electric, can be costly to fix, causing your landlord to deduct a large fee from your deposit. Inform your landlord of any electric and plumbing issues as they arise during your residency to prevent yourself from being charged after you move out. Given the high costs of repair, it’s better to have these issues repaired before you leave instead of being blamed and charged for the damage after moving out.
3. Interior fixtures
Make sure to replace batteries for carbon monoxide and smoke detectors before you move out. Additionally, defective appliances should be fixed before moving out, whether you can do it yourself or you need to have your landlord bring in an expert. If damage occurs to a fixture or appliance in your apartment, ask your landlord to take care of it when the problem first appears instead of waiting – you’ll save more money this way.
4. Doors and windows
It’s important to replace faulty doorknobs, doors, and window panes. Perhaps you can’t do some of these replacements by yourself, but some door and window repairs may be easier than you think. Either you do it yourself or get your landlord to hire someone to repair the damage — again, don’t wait until you’ve moved out.
5. Items left behind
Packing and moving everything you own may be a daunting task, but you shouldn’t leave anything behind. Leaving things in your apartment after you move out can be costly for your landlord because of the labor it takes to remove it.
Some tenants leave mattresses and box springs behind, but doing so is ill-advised even if these objects are tough to move – your landlord can charge you high sums for these left-behind items in particular. If you need to get rid of large items, look into donating them to charity, hiring a junk hauling company, or selling them online.
The key takeaway: Fix faults as they happen
In general, if you want to receive your full deposit amount after you move out, you should always strive to repair damages right after they occur. Many people recommend taking a picture before you move in to keep track of any damages the apartment has when you first move in. Your landlord can fix issues while you’re living there instead of withholding money from your security deposit after you move out.
Do you have any advice to ensure that people receive their full security deposit after moving out of apartments? Sound off in the comments!