Tips for Getting your Security Deposit Back

Few things in life are better than getting your entire security deposit back in your pocket. Okay maybe that’s stretching it a little bit, it may seem like a near-impossible task to get back the entire amount of your security deposit on a rental unit, but it can be done. That deposit cash belongs to you; it is yours so you should be able to recoup most, if not all, of that money back into your wallet.

Read our expert advice on how, you too, can ensure you get back the most money from your rental’s security deposit.

Plan Early

Right from the very first day you get your keys to move in, you must take the appropriate actions to ensure you get your money back so start planning your move out right away.

Document Everything

Take photos and video of every single thing you can find that needs to be repaired, repainted, fixed, etc.  Anything that looks out of the ordinary, broken, or jerry-rigged be sure you get photographic and video evidence that shows it was that way when you moved in. Report all of these findings to a landlord via email ASAP (within 3-5 days) so that you have a contemporaneous record of the condition of the property at the time of move in. It also shows that you made the landlord aware of the issues immediately.  Also, document every interaction with your landlord, if the interactions are face to face send a follow-up email going over everything that was discussed. Having this evidence protects you from the landlord denying knowledge of discussion and gives you proof of it if they try.

Stay Organized

All of your documentation concerning your rental should be kept in one place use the same email address for all your contact with your landlord.  Store any digital copies of video or pictures, lease agreements in the same folder and be sure to have backup copies.  Any hard copies of documents, receipts, etc. should be secured together in a document folder.

Research Laws

Be sure you research local and state laws to know what your rights are as a tenant. Most states deem it illegal for a landlord to withhold security deposits without providing some explanation as to why.   Check out the US Department of Housing and Urban Development site on tenant rights in your state.  You should also look at your States Attorney General’s office for information on local laws

Following these tips will go a long way to help you get back your rental deposit.   Getting back that deposit does not have to be a daunting task, with some clear planning, great documentation, deliberate organization, and knowledge you can be your advocate and take back your deposit money.

Tired of just renting?  Then check out our list of rent-to-own homes to set yourself on the path to homeownership.