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How to Minimize Security Deposit Deductions When Moving Out

How to Minimize Security Deposit Deductions When Moving Out

Moving out of a rental property can be a stressful experience. Especially when it comes to ensuring you receive your full security deposit back. To help you avoid unnecessary deductions, we’ve put together some tips on minimizing security deposit deductions when moving out.

Review Your Lease

Before moving out, it’s important to review your lease agreement to ensure you understand what is expected of you regarding cleaning and repairs. Your lease may specify requirements for cleaning, such as carpets, floors, and appliances. It may also have specific repairs or maintenance tasks you must complete before moving out.


One of the most common reasons for security deposit deductions is insufficient cleaning. Many tenants must pay more attention to the cleaning required to meet move-out standards. Consider leaving the property AS-IS and letting the landlord hire a professional cleaning crew.

Window and Appliance Testing

Set aside a weekend to test every window, appliance, and operable component in the unit. Then, during a pre-move-out walkthrough, clean up the home as much as possible so that the inspector can test as many things as possible. This will give you time to fix broken components or shop for cheaper replacement parts or vendors.

Nail Holes

If you put nails in the walls, those need to be patched, and the entire wall needs to be painted to avoid blotchy and unprofessional touch-ups. Rather than just fixing the hole, paint the entire wall to ensure a uniform and professional look.

Bathtub and Sink Drain Hairs

Another often-overlooked area for cleaning is the bathtub and sink drains. Hair clogs can cause slow draining and are grounds for security deposit deductions. You can purchase inexpensive tools to help pull hairs out, such as jigs or snakes, or hire a professional to help clean the drain.

The Property Manager’s Position

It’s important to remember that the property manager is not looking to deduct from your security deposit; instead, the unit needs to be returned to a state ready for the next tenant. Put yourself in the shoes of the next tenant moving into a new place, and you can more easily understand why the property manager is in a difficult position.

By following these tips and taking the necessary steps to clean and repair the rental property before moving out, you can help ensure you receive your full security deposit back.

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Lex Shan

Lex is a real estate broker, real estate developer, entrepreneur and technologist. He has started an architectural design firm, real estate development private equity fund and California's largest real estate 3D marketing company.

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