Want to Keep Your Security Deposit? Here’s How.

No one wants to pay an extra month or two of rent, but it’s common for renters to lose their security deposit at the end of their lease. That money is vital to moving on to another rental unit, or to put toward the purchase of a home, so it’s important that you protect it from the start. Keeping the rental in good condition is one of the best things you can do, but there are additional steps you can take to protect your security deposit.

Take Photos or Videos When You Move In

Disputes over the condition of a rental property are hard to prove when it’s your word against your landlord’s. That’s why you should always take photographs of the home or apartment as soon as you move in. Walk through with your landlord and take photos of the complete rooms, as well as any damage that you see.

Email the photos or put them on a CD, and send them to your landlord. Make sure everything is stamped with the time and date. It may seem a little much to take the time to do this, but both you and your landlord will be satisfied later. Your main goal is to make sure that the property is left in the same condition as when you got it.

Restore Walls to the Master Paint Color

Most landlords don’t mind if you paint or hang up pictures, but you must return the paint to the master color when you move out, which will probably be a neutral cream, white or brown. You should also fill in holes and repair any additional wall damage.

Keep the Carpets Clean

There’s no reason for the carpets to get trashed if you take good care of them. It’s best to adopt a no-shoe policy in your home, but if you don’t, at least place carpets near the door and in common areas. If you notice that the carpet is very dirty, you can talk to your landlord about renting an inexpensive steamer to remove dirt and stains.

Don’t Leave Stuff Behind

No matter how heavy that dresser is, you don’t want to leave anything behind. You’re not technically moved out until all of your stuff is moved out with you, so you can potentially be charged rent until your stuff is removed. The extra cost and hassle of having to take things out of the rental can easily cost you your security deposit.