When you sign an apartment lease for a specified length of time, you normally have to pay a deposit. In most cases, it will be paid back to you as long as the apartment doesn’t need to use the money to repair any damages you caused. Many forgot they ever put a deposit down, or they never try to get it back. But, with the economy the way it is today, getting that money back can be critical!
On Move-In Day
One of the best ways to get your deposit back is by keeping notes from the day you move in. The first thing you do when you move in is take pictures of the apartment, and document any damages you can find. Often times, the apartment management office has to deal with people trying to get away something. Anything you can show for documentation will give them the opportunity to see you are being honest.
Avoid Serious Damage
It’s also wise to not do anything to the apartment that could cause any permanent damage. If you have a party and it gets out of hand, someone could break a hole in the wall with their hand, or break off a doorknob. Things happen, but you should do the best you can to avoid them from happening so you can get your deposit back. Avoid drinking or eating directly on the carpet so it won’t get soiled and stained. Normal, everyday precautions will help ensure you get most of your deposit back when you move out.
Keep it Clean
Most apartment complexes charge you to clean the carpets when you move. You have an option to do that yourself. Renting a steam cleaner on your own is going to cost much less than not getting your deposit back.
Some apartment complexes will charge you to repaint the rooms after you move out. Check your contract to see what the rules are for painting. Most won’t charge a painting fee if you have lived there at least two years. As well, if you choose to paint the walls yourself, you could potentially save anywhere from $100 – $300 on your deposit.
Next, if you leave the apartment in good shape and clean, you may not have to pay a final cleaning bill that comes out of your deposit. The catch here is that you must clean it as good as a professional service would. It should look like it did the day you moved in. If the apartment management sees how well you are taking care to leave the
apartment in good condition, they are liable to return most of your deposit anyway.
The apartment complex wants to save money. If they don’t have to hire outside people to come and paint or clean, they will probably refund all or most of your deposit.
Peter Wendt is a writer from Texas. He has a knack for dealing with apartment leasing offices, and has always gotten most of his deposit back. If you are looking for downtown apartments in Austin, he recommends following these tips.