When you’re moving, every little copper penny counts, so it’s very important that you do everything you can to ensure that you’ll get your security deposit back. It’s important that you take the proactive approach so that you can be sure that you will be getting every red cent that you deserve—and you shouldn’t assume that the security deposit will let you live out the last month.
Here are four questions you should ask your landlord before you even sign the lease.
1. Does your landlord expect the place to be returned the same way you found it?
Your landlord might be one of those people who checks every nook and cranny for even the smallest bit of dust. They might want the appliances sparking clean, fleshly spackled walls, and shampooed carpeting. If your landlord is one of these people, they are going to look at everything and if they find anything that isn’t clean, they will deduct that from your security deposit. If you know you aren’t the best cleaner, you can hire a cleaning service to clean the place from top to bottom before you leave, thus giving your landlord one less reason to take some money off your deposit.
2. What does your landlord consider normal wear and tear?
If you’ve lived in a place for several years, surely it won’t look as good as when you first moved in. The carpet isn’t going to be as soft, the paint is going to be faded, and there may even a few dings in the wall. All of these things are natural wear and tear—they’ll happen to anyone’s home. You have to ask your landlord what they consider wear and tear. You want to get your security deposit back and not make it easy for the landlord to remodel, using your deposit! Keep in mind, normal wear and tear doesn’t include pet stains, obvious holes in the wall, and other excessive damages that will need extensive repairs.
3. Who is responsible for maintaining the yard?
If you are renting a home that comes with a yard, you will want to ask your landlord who is responsible for the yard work. This includes mowing the grass and raking leaves, but it also may include caring for the flower beds, trimming the shrubs and the like. If you don’t ask this, your landlord may take some money to trim the hedges. If the landlord has to spend money to get the yard to look the same way it did when you moved it, you can bet you won’t get your security deposit back—or at least not all of it.
4. What will the charge be to repaint?
Not everyone likes beige walls, which is understandable. However, you may want to ask your landlord what the charge will be if you decide that you need a bright green bedroom. You don’t want to paint the walls without asking first because that could really take a chunk out of your deposit. Some landlords may not charge a repainting fee, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes time to move out and you won’t get your security deposit back.