If you’ve never rented a property before, you might not know what a security deposit is. It’s the term for the initial cost you agree to pay to ensure you keep your rental property up to scratch. In some countries, it’s simply called a deposit or a rental bond. It acts as a way of providing security for the lender just in case you end up trashing the property. It’s an important part of the rental process, and it should never be overlooked by either party.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few gray areas that come with security deposits. When it’s time to move out of the property, and you want that money back, you might face a few troubles. Normally, it’s never fully explained what is required to ensure that money is back in your hands. Today, we’re going to outline a number of steps you should take in order to make sure you get repaid. Let’s get started!
Go Back Over The Original Report
Remember all the documentation you had to sign when you moved in? It’s time to dig it back out of the closet it’s hiding in and take a peek. Study all the issues that were noted when you moved in. Have a look around the place and see if anything else has sprung up over time. It shouldn’t take long to do, and you’ll be able to use this as evidence if there are any disputes. If the landlord shows concern about anything that wasn’t your fault, this is your way of proving it.
Take Photographs Of Any Changes
Issues are bound to crop up throughout your time as a tenant, including broken equipment and marks on the walls. You’ll want to take photographs of anything that happens at the time as a method of recording them. Some issues will be out of your control, so if you can document them correctly, it’ll help you to state your case. If nothing else, you can show that these incidents were documented instead of overlooked. Write down the dates as well if you want to, so you’ve got extra proof of exactly what has taken place.
Get In Touch With The Landlord When Necessary
If something breaks in the bathroom or the heating system stops working, you need to talk to the landlord. Don’t be tempted to wait weeks or even months to solve this problem. The landlord can easily argue that you neglected the property by failing to inform them of any issues. Give them a call and ask them to solve any issues. After all, it’s their property, and you want to get the most out of it! It won’t go in your favor if you try and bring up excuses as to why you didn’t inform the landlord in the first place.
Keep The Place Tidy
The best way to ensure your security deposit eventually finds it’s way back to you is to keep the place tidy. By keeping on top of things, you’ll be able to make sure the property remains in perfect shape. If you’re like me, and you’re horrendous at this sort of thing, you’re going to want to invest in house cleaning services. Even if you get someone to come in just once a month, it’ll be enough to ensure the house stays in good shape. Don’t neglect this; you won’t be getting that money back unless you make sure the property stays clean.
Be On The Lookout For Mold Buildups
Mold is a horrible thing to deal with in any property. It’s not something you can simply wipe off the walls in many cases, and there’s often a bigger issue at hand. If you spot it accumulating anywhere in the building, you need to try and figure out why. Deal with the problem as best you can, and analyze the cause. If it’s something you can deal with, make sure you do so. Otherwise, talk to your landlord immediately and state your concerns. They can’t do anything to help you if you don’t inform them in advance, and they’ll note this when discussing your security deposit later on.
Understand What You Can & Cannot Do
In any tenant agreement, there are rules as to what you can and cannot do. This can vary wildly depending on a number of different factors. If you’re good friends with your landlord (it happens!), they might give you a bit of leeway. You must talk to them before you dive headfirst into any decisions, however. If they find out that you’ve drilled the walls or installed a satellite dish, it could be enough to lose you that deposit. You wouldn’t want someone messing with your property in an improper way, so be considerate and play by the rules.
Fix What Needs To Be Fixed
It’s the landlord’s responsibility to fix many of the issues that will arise in the property. However, you need to understand when it’s your responsibility, too. If you’ve splashed paint on the walls or made a smudged mark on the floor, you’re going to have to deal with it. If you’ve broken a fixture in the bathroom, that’s your responsibility as well. Spend a little money now to make sure these problems are fixed, and you’ll get your security deposit back as a result. If you’re in any doubt, look at your rental agreement or talk to the professionals.
Read Up On The Laws
If you’re starting to get concerned that you won’t get your security deposit back, you might need to take extra steps. Presuming you’ve followed all the tips we’ve mentioned so far, it’s time to start looking at the various laws. Go online and utilize one of the various websites to do this. Of course, you need to look at the local laws depending on where you live. If your landlord is disputing the issue, there are considerations you need to think about before you take it further. We’ll come onto this subject a bit later on.
Always Be Honest
As humans, we make mistakes on a fairly regular basis. If you’ve done something wrong, and you know it’s wrong, you’re going to have to fess up. Don’t leave it until you vacate in order to inform the landlord. This is a sure way of losing the security deposit money. If you have a good relationship with the landlord (including honesty), they are more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt. There are no promises, of course, but honestly is always the best policy in any case.
Don’t Cause Trouble
If your friends want to a hold a party, don’t let them do it in your rented accommodation! When things get loud or violent, trouble will always follow. You do not want your neighbors to be complaining about noise because you’re too loud. Similarly, if the police are called to your accommodation, it’s not going to put you in the good books with your landlord. In the best cases, they are going to think a lot less of you. In the worst cases, they’ll kick you out on the street as quickly as possible. Show respect for the property and treat it as if it was your own.
Vacate The Property As Agreed
When it’s time to leave, you need to adhere to the requirements as set out in the rental agreement. You’re normally given a short period of time to move out, so don’t take longer than necessary. Doing so will normally incur extra fees and lose you the chance of getting that security deposit back. Some people think it’s OK to leave belongings behind that they no longer need, but this is not the case. You need to make sure the place is as clean as possible, and ensure rubbish has been cleared out. You won’t be getting that money unless you’re willing to do all of these things.
Consider Taking The Matter To Court
If all avenues have been covered, and the landlord is still hesitant to give you that security deposit back, it’s time to consider court. You can go to a small claims court which won’t necessarily cost a lot of money. Keep in mind that if you’re going to take things this far, you need to have sufficient evidence to back it up. If you’ve followed the tips we’ve talked about today, you should have plenty of recorded data to refer to. This method is a last resort, however, so you need to consider how bothered you are. In some cases, it might just be simpler to move on and put this down to a bad experience.
Getting your security deposit back won’t always be as complicated as this. As long as you’ve got a reasonable landlord, they’ll be more than happy to pay you the money in many circumstances. Above all, you just need to make sure you’re keeping their property in good shape. If you can’t do this, get the help of professionals to do it for you. By doing this throughout your rental period, you shouldn’t have to worry about your security deposit at all.
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