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How to Minimize Security Deposit Deductions When Moving Out

How to Minimize Security Deposit Deductions When Moving Out

How to Minimize Security Deposit Deductions When Moving Out

Minimizing security deposit deductions when moving out of a rental property is crucial to ensure you receive the most money back. Here are some steps you can take to help protect your security deposit:

Review your lease agreement: Before you start the move-out process, thoroughly review your lease agreement to understand the specific terms and conditions related to the security deposit. This will give you a clear idea of what the landlord expects. Your lease may specify requirements for cleaning, such as carpets, floors, and appliances, as well as specific repairs or maintenance tasks that must be completed before moving out.

Deep Cleaning: One of the most common reasons for security deposit deductions is insufficient cleaning. Many tenants underestimate the level of cleaning required to meet move-out standards. You can either hire a professional deep cleaner or hire our crew and deduct the deep cleaning fee from the Security Deposit. To ensure that you leave the property in the best possible condition, make sure to clean often-overlooked areas such as the top of baseboards and the area behind the toilet tank.

Repair damages: Repair any damages that occurred during your tenancy. This includes fixing holes in the walls, broken fixtures, or any damage you may have caused. If you’re unsure how to make repairs, consult with your property manager.

  • Nail holes need to be patched with spackles to match the existing texture. The patched area needs to be painted with matching paint. 
  • Review your lease, there is often language in your lease that requires your work to be done “in a good, skillful manner with materials of quality and appearance comparable to existing materials”. If you don’t think you are a “good and skillful” painter, the touch-up paint job is probably not for you. It may be better to leave it alone and have the paint charged to the security deposit.
    • Anything less than professional-quality work will likely result in us having to paint over the attempted painting which may be more costly than having left it alone.

Replace broken or missing items: If any items were provided by the landlord, such as appliances or fixtures, make sure they are in working condition and not damaged. Replace anything that is broken or missing.

Window and Appliance Testing

Set aside a weekend to test every single window, every single appliance, and every operable component in the unit. 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 any broken components or shop around for cheaper replacement parts or vendors.

Return keys and access devices: Ensure you return all keys, fobs, or access devices provided by the landlord. Failure to do so could result in deductions from your security deposit.

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.

Document the condition: Take photos and videos of the rental unit before you move out. This documentation can serve as evidence of the property’s condition at the time of your departure. Date and label the photos for reference.

Give proper notice: Follow the required notice period for moving out, as stated in your lease agreement. Failing to do so can result in additional fees or deductions.

Attend the pre-move-out walkthrough: Accompany your landlord during the final walkthrough to address any concerns or issues. This gives you the opportunity to address any disputes in person.

Remember that maintaining a good tenant-landlord relationship is essential. Following these steps can help protect your security deposit while ensuring a smooth transition when moving out of a rental property.

By following these tips and taking the necessary steps to clean and repair the rental property before moving out, you can help mitigate charges to the security deposit.

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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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