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How to Secure Your Security Deposit Return: 5 Must-Know Steps

Man and woman scrubbing windows with brush.
Like most tenants, you likely aim to reclaim your security deposit after vacating. But were you aware that excellent property maintenance is vital to getting your security deposit back?

The need for property repairs is a leading cause of withheld security deposits by landlords and property managers. Minimizing the potential repairs needed post-move-out is a smart approach.

Keep a record of your walk-through checklist

Pre-move-in condition of the house isn’t your responsibility, but without records, the landlord could hold you accountable for pre-existing damages. Hence, before moving in, you should examine every room and note down its condition.

Ensure you complete and keep a copy of the walk-through checklist your landlord provides. Should your landlord not provide a checklist, make notes of any existing damage, no matter how small, and any necessary repairs. Take photos of anything you record as well. These will be useful if a dispute arises later.

Maintain the cleanliness of your rental

To ensure a higher chance of getting your security deposit back, keep your rental home consistently clean. The necessity of sticking to your cleaning schedule increases the longer you stay.

Surface cleaning keeps grime away short-term, but deep cleanings are crucial for long-term rental living. Deep cleaning involves scrubbing grout, wiping kitchen cabinets and ceiling fans, cleaning appliances (fridge, oven, microwave, dishwasher), and basic appliance maintenance.

Remember to clear hair from drains, switch out light bulbs, and dust blinds and ceiling fans. By doing these tasks regularly, you can help prevent your landlord from withholding part of your security deposit for cleaning.

Practice caution when decorating

Be mindful when decorating your rental home to help ensure you receive your entire security deposit back. Try not to put holes in the walls or make permanent changes, which might cause expensive repairs you’d be responsible for.

Use non-marking, removable fasteners instead of nails or screws to hang décor items. These fasteners can hold items of various weights and sizes and generally don’t damage the wall when removed.

Place coasters or pads beneath table legs, couches, and other heavy furniture to safeguard your floors during moves. Floor damage is frequent and expensive to fix; by preparing and using the right supplies, you can prevent floor scratches or carpet tears during moves.

Minimize damage by pets or children

Kids or pets in your rental require you to take steps to reduce potential damage to painted walls and other surfaces.

Placing furniture or other items against the walls can help protect them from scrapes, scratches, and stains. Rugs can safeguard floors and offer a soft spot for your children to play.

Designating specific areas for pets or playtime can help limit damage to a few rooms. Utilize high-quality cleaning products, such as magic erasers, to remove scuffs and scribbles.

Promptly report issues to the landlord

Maintaining regular and honest communication with your landlord is key. Letting your landlord know about maintenance issues early ensures swift repairs. Addressing maintenance or minor repairs early can help avoid major repairs down the line.

Any damages discovered after you move out fall under your responsibility. Typically, the landlord is responsible for repairs during your lease. By addressing maintenance problems, you increase the likelihood of getting your full security deposit back when you leave.

Thinking of moving? Trust Real Property Management Diablo Valley to find your ideal home in San Ramon and its vicinity. Get in touch with us today for personalized help, or browse our available rentals to see your options.

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