5 Steps to Get Your Full Security Deposit Back

Tenants often have to deal with disputes over security deposits, which can add headaches to the already stressful moving out process. Here are 5 ways to guarantee you’ll get your full security deposit refunded.


  • Clean, Clean, Clean

Quite possibly the most important step in getting your deposit back is cleaning everything. An apartment can benefit greatly from a good scrub-down. Clean the windows, kitchen appliances (yes, even inside the oven and refrigerator), showers, tubs, toilets, and mirrors; vacuum the carpets, dust, remove nails and screws and putty over them, etcetera. All of these improvements are vital to keeping the place livable. Landlords can deduct from your security deposit if they have to hire a cleaning service to fix any filth tenants leave behind.

  • Fix What You Can (beyond wear and tear)

Landlords cannot deduct from your security deposit for normal wear and tear, such as slightly chipping paint, faded curtains, worn-out carpet, etc. Damaged or broken items- anything beyond wear and tear- is your responsibility. Rug stains from pets or spills, broken tiles, holes in the walls, broken windows, kids’ drawings on the walls, and any other damages must be fixed before moving out.

However, if you have resided in the building for about five years or more, landlords can deduct a little for wear and tear on carpeting, paint, and other such items. These items are time-based, so if you have been a long-term tenant, expect to see a little bit of your deposit put towards repainting or recarpeting.

For more information on wear and tear vs. damage, see How to Avoid Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes.

  • Don’t Leave Anything Behind

Make sure you take everything with you- trash, appliances that belong to you, all of your belongings. You will be charged if your landlord has to remove items from the property.

  • Take Pictures

After you’ve cleaned and fixed everything, take pictures of the condition of the property. In case your landlord tries to make unfair deductions, you’ll have the pictures to prove the state of the place. If you have to go to a small claims court, these pictures could save your case and help you get the full deposit back.

  • Walkthrough

Schedule a walkthrough with your landlord. Have him or her point out any deductions they would make so you can fix the issues before you move out. Go through a rental walkthrough condition assessment form together so you can make sure you’re getting the full deposit amount you’re entitled to.

For more information, please visit Parting Ways- Quick Tip

As a full-service property management company, it’s our duty to act as a liaison between the customer and the property owner. We are experts at what we do, so contact us today, and let us show you how we can help you today. CALL 626-339-1000.

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  1. Pingback: LANDLORDS BEWARE: You MUST Disclose These on Your Leases! (PART ONE) | The Commercial Expert

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