If you read our deposit tips blog last week (“Not thinking about your refund before moving in? You’re doing it wrong”), you’re officially a smart renter and on the path to maximizing your apartment security deposit refund.
If you didn’t, don’t worry – you still have the opportunity to make smart decisions when you’re preparing to move out. Take a look at these 7 tips that will help you get your deposit back.
1. Make it official.
Generally, you should provide a 30-day notice to your landlord, but check your lease to see how much notice yours requires. If your manager doesn’t have an official form for you to sign, put it in writing anyway and send it via certified mail. Better safe than sorry!
2. Address your address.
Your apartment security deposit refund will likely be mailed to the address your landlord has on file. If you don’t provide an updated address, your deposit might be mailed to the place you just left. Whoops. Provide your new address when you submit your written notice.
3. Pay attention to what you’ve already paid.
Unless it’s explicitly stated in your lease, your deposit can’t be used as your last month’s rent. Getting this wrong can be a costly mistake, and you may be hit with late fees in your final month.
4. Embrace the inspection.
Does the word “inspection” give you the heebie-jeebies? It shouldn’t – it’s your opportunity to learn what your landlord considers normal wear and tear versus damage. Ask your manager to schedule a pre move-out inspection with you about two weeks before your departure. This will give you time to coordinate repairs prior to move out. Remember that your manager can only advise on what they see, so now’s not the time to cover that red wine stain with your couch.
5. Start sudsin’ … or not.
You’ll be expected to leave the apartment as clean as it was when you first moved in, minus any normal wear and tear. Dirty carpets aren’t considered normal wear and tear, for example, and generally need to be professionally cleaned. At Prometheus, we find that many Neighbors (as we call our residents) neglect to thoroughly clean their apartments to our standards, which is sparkling clean. And that's a tall order, considering everything else on your mind when you're moving.
If you live at Prometheus, we recommend skippin’ the sudsin’. Instead, let us do the dirty work for you. It’s often easier – and cheaper – to leave it to the pros, especially when you consider all the cleaning supplies you’d need to buy. Be sure to ask your manager for the details about making it effortless for you.
5. Leave nothing behind.
We’re not just talking trash. You might think you’re doing the next renter a favor by leaving behind a fancy showerhead or custom cabinet knobs, but if your landlord disagrees, you’ll be charged for removal. Check before leaving anything.
6. Return your keys, fobs and remotes ASAP.
Gather up any fobs and remotes (they're costly to replace) and be sure to return them with your keys. For your safety, most landlords – including Prometheus – will assume you’re still at home until they receive your keys. Don’t leave them in your home when you go. Instead, return them to the office as you leave to avoid deductions for additional rent. Plus, that gives us one final chance to say goodbye – we’re going to miss you!