There are many expenses involved with moving in or out of a rental home during a PCS, with the rental deposit being one of the largest. Getting your full deposit back gives you a little extra room in your finances, which can dramatically reduce moving stress! There as steps you can take to maximize your chances of retrieving your deposit. While each landlord or property manager is different, here are 5 tips to protect your rental deposit.
- The Walk Through
A thorough and specifically recorded walk through prior to signing 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. Don’t pay for damages from the previous tenant, or fund future enhancements with your security deposit!
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 lease will make for an easier final walk-through. Whether or not your lease specifies it, a professional carpet cleaning before your final walk through can go a long way towards improving the overall impression of the condition of the home. Remember, when you moved in the carpets had most likely been professionally cleaned. In general, minimize the chance of spills and stains by keeping common offenders like drinks and pets out of carpeted areas! Use runners or area rugs to reduce wear and tear in high traffic areas.
- Do A Pre-Move Out Walk Through
A quick “pre-walk through” with your property manager is a great way to identify easy fixes that would otherwise come out of your deposit. A landlord that makes a pre-walk through standard practice is more likely to give you an opportunity to correct any issues before charging you.
- Know the Local Laws
This is an important factor for military families that rent in many new areas. There are variances in State and local requirements 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’s the landlord’s responsibility to understand and abide by local regulations, it’s your responsibility to know the rules and whether they have been followed.
Ease the effect of normal wear and tear on your home with consistent maintenance. By addressing 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. Maintain 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 may be held liable.