If you are a renter on the move or looking for a space, then one of your biggest concerns may be the security deposits.  This money put down in advance can add up, so follow our top tips to ensure you get back what is coming to you.

Pre-Move In

Before you move into a unit, ask the landlord to do a walk-through with you.  Use a digital or video camera to record the condition of everything in the apartment.  This includes the rooms as a whole, plus, the walls, floors, bathroom fixtures, cupboard etc.  The more detailed your documentation is the better off you will be when it comes time to move out.  After the recording is finished be sure to email your landlord the file so you both will have a record of it upon your departure.  This saves a lot of time and hassle and is well worth the initial effort.

Moving Out

One of the biggest sappers of security deposits is not giving the landlord enough notice of your departure.  Sometimes this may not always be feasible, but if you are planning to move, be sure to let your landlord know well in advance.  This could be anywhere from 30 to 60 days, so read your lease or ask the landlord in person.

tips on getting security deposit backShowing of Your Apartment

Landlords do not like empty units, so be prepared for the showing of your apartment while you are still in it.  Be as accommodating as possible (even though it can be a huge inconvenience).  Keep your unit clean and tidy as well during this time to encourage the new tenants.  This will go a long way in assuring you get your full security deposit back.


Everyday wear-and-tear does occur in an apartment, so before you leave, be sure you fill in all those holes or nicks in the paint.  This is also especially important if you painted the apartment an alternate shade than what the unit was prior to your moving in.  Ask the landlord for the exact color, brand and even sku number to ensure you get the right one.  Repaint the walls so you leave it looking fresh and move-in condition.  Purchasing some paint and doing the work is far cheaper than losing your security deposit.

Clean the Carpets

Before you move out, take the time to have the carpets cleaned.  This can be done by renting a carpet cleaner or having a professional company come in and do it for you.  If there is carpet running up to your door, then lying down a throw-carpet when you first move in is a great way to save the wear-and-tear that can result in some of your security deposit being held back.

Take Everything With You

This may seem like an obvious point, but things do get accidentally left behind or left behind on purpose.  An apartment is not the place you want to “forget” an old piece of furniture. In some places, the landlord has the right to charge you rent if anything is left behind, or you could be handed an eviction notice because of your forgotten items.  When you move out take everything with you.  If you no longer have a use for furniture or other items, donate them to charity or give them away.

You don’t want to be left empty handed when it comes to your security deposit.  Take the extra time when you are moving in and moving out to ensure the apartment is left in top condition.  The effort now will be well worth it in the long run.