There is nothing more frustrating than moving out of a place and then be told you don’t get that deposit back. After all the things you did when you moved out and then to top off all the headaches and worries of moving, the landlord keeps your cash.
Here are some simple and easy things you can do to ensure your money stays with you. First and foremost get it in writing before moving in. When you sign the lease, have it in writing any damage or things that may be a problem when you move in.
If you do a walk through with the landlord when you go to rent, write down any damage you see. If he doesn’t walk through with you, do so and write it down. When you go to sign the lease add in any damage and note anything that stands out to you.
If there are major appliances such as the stove or refrigerator that you have to provide, make sure it is noted in the lease. That way when you move out you know who it belonged to. There is no question about it. When you move in, before you put one box or bag into the property you should invest in a cheap camera and take pictures.
Take a picture in each room and any spaces like the attic or basement that you have access to. That way on moving day you can show the condition of the property and be sure he knows what it looked like when you moved in. If there is any damage you should definitely take a couple of pictures of it. And when you get the film developed have the date added to the pictures. This will nail down the date for you.
When it comes time to think about moving, be ready with a letter. Give the landlord notice when you are sure you are going to be moving. And give him a definite day you will be out by. Don’t be ambiguous about it. Say you be will out by midnight on this day, and get it in writing as soon as you can. You should have it in writing when you have to give notice by on your lease, whether it’s two weeks or four or whatever stick to what is on your lease.
He will know when you want to move and it will not be a surprise, and spend a couple of dollars on it so you have proof, get it certified. That way if he tries to play dumb and you have his signature that he accepted the letter of termination of rental you have the upper hand.
When you do move out, do so by the day you told him. Don’t be even a minute late. Be ahead of schedule and if anything does happen let him know in advance so he has at least some warning. If you are going to be a little late, he may be more understanding if he knows in advance instead of the day after you were supposed to be out.
Clean, clean ,clean. It doesn’t matter what condition the place was when you moved in, if it’s clean when you move out, that is a sure way to get your deposit back. The less the landlord has to do to rent it out to the next person, the better it is for all involved.
If it has carpet, shampoo it, if the wood floors are scratched buy some stuff to fix it. Do what you can to clean up, some good old elbow grease and rags and you will be amazed at how helpful the landlord can be when you move out.
Clean everywhere in the place you can. The fridge, under the stove, in cabinets, do a complete cleaning and be sure not to miss anywhere. This is a lot of work but it is worth the money. If you have some help you can get it done quicker but you should look at it from the standpoint of the landlord.
If he has to pay someone to clean out the place, why should it come out of his pocket. He can make you pay for it, and he probably will.
There are some things you can do from the first day you move in to ensure you get your deposit back later when you move out. One thing is to get on good terms with your landlord and neighbors. If he likes you or just gets along he will be that much more ready to be nice to you when the time comes for your moving out.
Being nice to neighbors helps him if he doesn’t have complaints about you. It is real annoying for him to be getting calls from the police about the problems at his rental.
During your stay at the rental property fix what you can and let him know of anything he needs to fix. Even if it’s a note with the rent check about something little that you have no idea about fixing, he will appreciate knowing before it gets to be a real problem.
For things like water leaks or small repairs that can wait, tell him in a note with the check and let him get to it. If he has someone who fixes those things, it’s easier for him to have that person do a bunch of stuff all at once. And less of a bother on everyone involved.
Don’t call him at two AM with something that can wait until the morning. Deal with it and he’ll thank the lucky stars he has such a good renter.
I mean things that happen like the water heater going out and you have no hot water or a water leak that is soaking up the bathroom. If you can shut off the water or deal with it until the morning, and then call him to get it fixed, he will thank you for not waking him up for something that could have waited till the morning.
If it is something like the furnace going out and you’ll freeze or you can’t shut off the water as it’s getting higher in the basement then do call. But for the small things that you can deal with then don’t bother him till a decent time in the morning.
This all goes to getting along and being nice to each other. If he likes you as a tenant, he will want to give you your deposit back. If he remembers all the times you bugged him at two AM for the water heater not working, guess what. No deposit. Sure you should have hot water in your apartment or whatever but wait till a time that he doesn’t get charged an arm and a leg to get it fixed.
If he doesn’t have to pay a lot to get it fixed he will have no reason to take it out on you, then or later. I try not to bug my landlord and he hasn’t raised the rent on me. This works out quite well. I have a good relationship with him and work at getting along.
If there are things like nail holes and such that I can fix I do that. Then when it comes time to move out, he will be sure that he can rent the place to the next tenant quickly and not spend money having to clean the place. That is what he wants out of the deal. If he has to pay someone to clean up the place, then it will cost you, not him.
When you do end up moving, the less the landlord has to do is better for hi, so if you keep up on things like this, it will be easier on everybody when you move out. After all, it’s a business to him, nothing personal.