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Renter’s Guide: Everything you Need to Know to Get your Security Deposit Refund

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While homeownership might represent the goal for many adults, a substantial number of people in the US rent. In fact, just shy of 101 million people live in rental housing. That’s around 30.5% of the total US population.

One of the ubiquitous elements of living in a rental property, such as an apartment, is that you almost always pay a security deposit when you sign the lease. That deposit can range from as little as a few hundred dollars to a full month’s rent.

The question many renters wonder about is how can you ensure a full security deposit refund. Keep reading for some key tips on you back your security deposit.

What is a Security Deposit for Rent?

Before delving into getting your apartment security deposit back, let’s take a quick look at the security deposit itself. Rental property owners want some assurance that you’ll leave the apartment in the same condition you got it. At a minimum, they want minimal damage.

phone and money placed on the table

The security deposit helps make sure you don’t mistreat the space. If you do, they’ll usually take repair costs out of the security deposit.

The security deposit for rent is also there to ensure you don’t just skip out on your last month of rent.

Do Apartments Give Back Security Deposits?

Another question new renters might ask is, “Do apartments give back security deposits?” Yet, most apartments will give back your security deposit, assuming you made a good faith effort not to destroy anything in the apartment.

With those essentials out of the way, let’s jump into tips for getting that deposit back.

Document Everything when you Move in

It’s easy for anyone to overlook small problems during an apartment or home tour. Once you move in, though, document any problems you find as soon as possible.

Take pictures and enable the date on the images. The image and date help serve as proof that you didn’t cause the problem.

Documenting problems and your possessions is also helpful for renter’s insurance claims.

Also, notify the apartment management team as soon as you find the problem, so they also have a record. Don’t just call. Send an email so there is a digital paper trail.

Clean it Up

Before you move out, do a thorough cleaning of the apartment or house. That means things like bringing in a rug shampooer. Sanitize the kitchen and bathroom as well as possible.

Mop any tile with disinfectant or, if it’s safe for your flooring, use a steam mop. Don’t forget things like the insides of cabinets, drawers, and your oven.

Securing your Security Deposit Refund

Securing your security deposit refund is about a combination of forethought and practical behaviors. On the forethought front, you should document any problems you discover early on and report them to the landlord or property manager.

On the practical behaviors front, it mostly boils down to cleaning the apartment when you leave. Deep clean the rugs and sanitize the bathroom and kitchen. These behaviors make you look responsible and help ensure your refund.

Renter’s Guide: Everything you Need to Know to Get your Security Deposit Refund

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