Whether you are new to your Tampa apartment or thinking about moving out, it is never to early to start thinking about your security deposit.
Follow these tips to ensure that you get your security deposit back:
Read your lease before you sign it.
Yes, it is long and there is a lot of legal jargon, but sit down and read it. Ask questions and understand the terms of your lease; what you can and cannot do while living in your apartment and lease terms.
Walk through your apartment before moving in and document what you see.
Ask the landlord or property manager to walk through your apartment with you, take notes and discuss items with them. Even if you are not expecting them to be fixed you should document or take pictures of small deficiencies or repairs.
Follow the rules while you live there.
I know this seems obvious, but if your lease says no pets, you shouldn’t get one. If painting and making holes in the walls are against your lease, you should look for other ways to decorate. Use 3-com hooks to hang pictures, instead of painting, use a large picture or a room divider to add color. If your lease has a clause about sub-letting, you should think twice about listing your apartment in Airbnb or VRBO as it may violate your lease.
Give the appropriate notice in writing.
Your lease will detail the amount of time you need to give for your notice, be sure to follow the guidelines. Even if you are friendly with the management team, make sure that the notice is in writing and that it that management acknowledges the notice date in writing. An email is sufficient in most cases.
Clean your apartment before you turn in your keys.
The general rule is that you should leave your apartment in the same condition as you found it. Some leases refer to broom cleaned which in general means that you will remove all personal belongings, debris and trash and vacuum the carpets and/or sweep the floors. It is also a good idea to clean the kitchens and bathrooms thoroughly and wipe down all cabinets.
If you pay a cleaning service, keep the receipt and record of what they cleaned.
Walk through the apartment before you leave.
Just like the walk through you did when you moved in, experts suggest that you ask for a move-out walk through. This allows you to document and review items and allows you to discuss what items may hinder the return of your security deposit and give you time to correct them.
We suggest taking pictures as well.
Provide a forwarding address for your returned check.
In most states a landlord must return a security deposit within a certain amount of time (typically between 15 and 45 days). If the full amount is not returned, they MUST document these items. You have the right to dispute these charges. If you are depositing or cashing a check for a partial return, you should make sure that it does not say “Payment in Full”.
Follow these tips and you should have no problems getting all or part of your apartment security deposit returned.