Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back

Everything from pet damage to moving out before the end of a lease could get your security deposit withheld by your landlord—but just how often does this happen? What are the most common causes of tenants getting the cold shoulder when it comes to getting their deposit back? surveyed 1,000 U.S. renters and found that more than a quarter (26%) of all renters have lost their security deposit at some point. The most startling statistic of all is that 36% of those renters got NO explanation from their landlord. (Check your local state laws to see if this is legal in your state.) To help make sure you get your deposit back at the end of your lease, has compiled several tips for maintaining your apartment and your relationship with your landlord.

Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back:

  • “It’s Better to Beg Forgiveness than Ask for Permission” Does NOT Apply Here: When renting, it is always best to get written permission from your landlord before doing any customization or renovations.
  • Read Your Lease: Many renters miss the specific guidelines laid out by their landlord regarding the return of their deposit. A list should be made and agreed upon regarding the conditions of the apartment at the end of the lease BEFORE you sign it.
  • Snap a Photo: It’s always a good idea to take some photos of the apartment when you first move in. Make sure they are time/date-stamped! Then repeat the process on move out day. This way pre-existing damage is documented and the blame cannot fall on you!
  • Be Reasonable and Your Landlord Might Be Too: There is no guarantee that a landlord will negotiate you breaking your lease, but maybe there is a compromise that can be met. For instance, you could help find a replacement tenant, agree to pay rent for an additional number of months or until a new tenant is found.
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