So you’ve decided it’s time for a change and you’re moving on to a new place. The number one question people seem to ask when moving out is, “how do I assure that I will get a security deposit refund?” Many people have horror stories of moving out and waiting for a check, but then instead getting a letter explaining why they won’t see a dime back. Let us help you with a few simple steps to help ensure that you receive that security deposit refund, or at least most of it!
1) Follow the rules. Find out exactly what type of notice your community requires (most have a standard of 60 days written notice). Then, make sure you give them the notice in writing within the correct timing of when you plan to move. After, ask for them to fax you a signed copy to be sure that they received it. Also, make sure you give them your exact forwarding address and an updated phone number.
2) Clean. Apartment communities typically ask that you return the apartment in the condition you received it. Now, this may seem impossible if you’ve been living there for a long time, but normal wear and tear is not included for deposit deductions. If you have any carpet stains that are able to come out, you may want to rent a steam cleaner and take care of it yourself (although this might not be worth the trouble if you live on the third floor)! Make sure to clean out all the kitchen appliances and turn the oven self cleaner on while you’re cleaning the fridge shelves. Clean out the bathroom, storage closets, etc.
3) Double Check. Make sure before you move out that you have checked and rechecked. It is very common for drawers to get missed. The top bathroom drawer is the most common and typically contains what you use the most! Also, check your patio, your storage closets and the cabinets above the refrigerator. There are lots of nooks and crannies in an apartment, and you don’t want to realize you left your valuables. Go through every drawer and make sure you didn’t miss a thing, and that you cleaned them as well.
4) Make it final. Before walking out the door, protect yourself. Bring a digital camera and take a few pictures. This will be your only chance of having proof that you have done the right thing. Hopefully you won’t need them, but it’s good to have them just in case. Once you move out you will have no proof without pictures. After you’ve done a double take and gotten a few snapshots, get your keys/remotes together and return them to the office. It is best to leave them with someone in person so you can be sure they are officially received. If you did not have a forwarding address when you gave your move out notice, make sure you give it to them now.
Hopefully following these important steps will help you receive your security deposit refund and save yourself from the horror story.