How Not to Lose Your Security Deposit

Posted in Tips & Tricks for Apartment Living

Considering a security deposit on an Albany apartment is usually equivalent to one or two months of rent, getting it back when you move out is pretty important. Here are a few things that you can do as a tenant to help ensure you do not lose your security deposit when you move out.

Read Your Lease

It may sound obvious, but you should never sign a lease without reading it first. And, if there is anything that you don’t agree with or understand, make sure you discuss these points with your property manager before moving into your Albany apartment. Get clarification on things such as “ordinary wear and tear” and “reasonable effort” to ensure that you and your property manager are on the same page, and to increase the likelihood of getting back your security deposit in full.

Request a Walk-Through

Security deposit disputes often occur when the tenant and property manager disagree on whether damage to the apartment is existing or new, so it’s important to request a walk-through of the space, prior to the move-in date, to document existing damage. Some property managers use a checklist, which both parties sign, but it’s also helpful to take photos or a video using your smart phone so that you can refer back to it, if needed. Be sure to note any stains on the carpet, holes in the walls or damage to appliances.

Ask for Permission

Before making any improvements, modifications or repairs to your Albany apartment, ask your property manager for written permission. Even if you think they won’t mind, or your lease doesn’t specifically prohibit customization, it’s always better to ask before you act. While a fresh coat of paint or updated bathroom fixtures may seem like a good idea to you, it’s important to remember that you do not own the property, and these decisions are ultimately not yours to make.

Be Mindful of Pets

For tenants with pet-friendly apartments in Albany, furry family members are often the reason security deposits are not returned in full. Cats, in particular, cause the most costly damage to apartments and homes. The smell of cat urine is extremely difficult and expensive to remove. Carpets and pads usually have to be pulled up and removed, and the underlying floor cleaned and sealed. So take special care to avoid accidents and ensure they are cleaned up immediately if they do happen.

Likewise, if your dog is a chewer or suffers from separation anxiety, consider crating him or her when you are not home to prevent damage to the apartment and your belongings. Rugs are also great for protecting hardwood floors from damaging dog nails.

Clean Up & Make Repairs

Most leases and rental agreements require that you clean your Albany apartment when you move out. Check your lease for specifics, but at the very least, the apartment should be “broom swept” with no signs of cobwebs or dust bunnies. Once all of your furniture has been moved out, give the entire apartment a once over. Clean the refrigerator and oven, vacuum and mop, wipe down baseboards, counters, sinks, toilets and tubs. It’s also important that the apartment is empty. All garbage, furniture, and personal belongings should be removed. If the property manager has to pay to dispose of anything, he or she may take the fee out of your security deposit.

For more helpful hints for Albany renters, check out 5 Easy Tips for Soundproofing Your Apartment in Albany and Apartment “Petiquette” 101.

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