There are many expenses to consider when moving in or out of a rental home during a PCS, the rental deposit among them. Getting back your deposit gives you a little extra room in the finances that can dramatically reduce moving stress! But how do you maximize your chances of retrieving your deposit when landlords and tenants often disagree about exactly what’s normal when it comes to wear and tear? While each landlord or property manager is different, here are 5 ways to protect your rental deposit.
1. The Walk Through
A thorough and specifically recorded walk through before you sign your lease is one of the most important factors in protecting yourself from being charged for pre-existing home conditions. Avoid differing interpretations by utilizing video or photographs of each identified item and make sure that your landlord or property manager has a copy of your digital record.
Flooring, and carpets in particular, are one of the most common deposit-eating expenses in rental homes. Carpets suffer a great deal of wear and tear and are easy to stain or damage. As needed, spot cleaning throughout the length of your stay will add up to an easier final walk-through. Whether or not your lease specifies it, a professional carpet cleaning before your walk through can go a long way towards improving the overall impression of the condition of the home. Remember, when you moved in and did the initial walk through, the carpets had likely been professionally cleaned. In general, minimizing the chance of spills and stains by keeping common offenders like drinks and pets out of carpeted areas is a good start!
3. Do A Pre-Move Out Walk Through
While it might cause a groan or two to add one more thing to your PCS To Do List, a quick “pre-walk through” with your property manager is a powerful way to identify easy fixes that would otherwise come out of your deposit. A landlord that makes the pre-walk through a standard practice is going to be more likely to give you an opportunity to correct any issues before charging you.
4. Know The Local Laws
This is an important factor for military families that will rent in many new areas. There are variances in the local requirements for landlords regarding the return of rental deposits. Requirements could include when you are notified of charges, amount of time to have the deposit returned and the way you are notified of any issues or charges. Just as it is the landlord’s responsibility to understand and abide by local regulations, it is your responsibility to know the rules and whether or not you have been dealt with accordingly.
The best way to protect your rental deposit is to ease the effect of normal wear and tear on your home with consistent maintenance. By addressing any minor issues immediately, you could save yourself substantial money down the road. Seasonal professional cleaning can dramatically improve the condition of your carpet. Region-appropriate lawn care prevents having to pay or sod or re-seeding on move out. In the same way, open and timely communication with your property manager throughout your lease about minor issues like leaks, condensation, and small repairs can prevent larger damage for which you might be held liable.
We want to know:
Have you every been surprised by losing your rental deposit? What happened?