By Erika Riggs
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — You’ve packed up, you’ve got a new place to move into and you’re getting ready to clean out the old place. But if you want to get the security or rental deposit back from your landlord, you may have to do more than simply dusting and vacuuming.
The security deposit sum you pay prior to moving in is not only a collateral to hold the rental, but an amount of money that the landlord can use to fix any damage that you, as a tenant, may have done after you move out. Generally, a tenant is not responsible for “normal wear and tear.” However, if you set a frying pan on a laminate counter-top, for example, you will most likely be responsible for the repair.
Outside of any major damages and with a little bit of hard work, you should be able to get your rental deposit returned.
Document the Damages
Although this is a little late in the game when you’re packing up, one of the first things you should do when moving into a rental is to itemize and document anything damaged: a dent in the fridge, a hole in the wall, a chip in the mirror. Take photos and write everything down. Have your landlord present to review these items. Then, send a copy to the landlord, (and keep one for yourself), so there is documentation of the issues present at the time you moved in. Take photos when you move out as well, for comparison. One suggested tip is to include a current newspaper in one of the photos to prove the date or take photos with a camera that provides a time stamp.
Look Over the Lease
What is expected of you upon moving out? Do you have to find someone to clean the carpets or patch holes or is that something your landlord will cover? Read through the lease and take note of the requirements contingent upon getting your deposit back.