How to Get a Security Deposit Refund

By PropertyClub Team
Mar 5th 2021
At the beginning of a lease, you pay a security deposit. The amount works to cover any damages that might occur during your time in the space. Once you move out, you should get this amount back. However, there are a few things that might prevent this from happening.

If you’re worried about the security deposit, it’s critical to act ahead of time to ensure you get your security deposit back. Read on to learn how to ensure you get a security deposit refund when you move out.

hash-markHow to Get Your Security Deposit Back

  • Read Your Lease
  • Document Everything
  • Talk To Your Landlord
  • Clean Everything
  • Make Repairs
  • Always Pay on Time
  • Give Back the Keys
  • Know What You Are Owed

hash-markRead Your Lease

Before moving out, ensure you read through it in close detail. There are some critical things to look for in a lease that can help determine what actions you might need to take to hang on to your security deposit when you leave.

Look for terms and conditions in the lease that will inform you of what you need to do to get your security deposit back. Search for requirements in your lease that you need to fulfill to get your money. It should be clear.

hash-markDocument Everything

If you move into a place and see damages, document them as soon as possible to have proof. If you keep track of these and notify the landlord, you can avoid losing your security deposit and paying extra fees for this trouble.

By taking pictures, you can be ready to defend yourself if your landlord refuses to give you the security deposit back due to these damages. If something is not your fault, you must put yourself in the best position to shed good light on your time in the home.

hash-markTalk To Your Landlord

Get on good terms with your landlord right away, talk to them about damages, and get to know them as soon as possible. If you’re on good terms, it will make the move-out process better. Becoming friends with your landlord is always an excellent idea.

You should operate with your landlord before you move out and walk through the space with them. Ask them to inform you of what they expect to get your security deposit back and what you can do to improve the area before leaving. They can be the best way to confirm your refund once you are ready to leave.

hash-markClean Everything

Don’t hesitate with this one - clean everything before you move out, from head to toe. Sweep the floors, mop the carpets, and get rid of any excess dust in the space. Polish, wax, and get rid of any visible grime. Keep drawers and cupboards as clean as possible.

Try to leave the space cleaner than it was when your first came in. This action is a surefire way to get your security deposit back as soon as possible. 

hash-markMake Repairs

If there are any damages, make repairs before you move out. Whether you’re dealing with a broken hinge or a clogged toilet, it’s critical to take the time to make fixes so you can get your security deposit back when you leave. 

You can hire professionals to repair, but you can also do them yourself to save time and money. Your landlord can point you to the repairs that need to be done if you take the time to complete a walk-through before moving out.

hash-markAlways Pay on Time

Ensure you always pay your rent on time, even up to your final month in the state. This action will keep you on good terms with your landlord, making them more lenient when the time comes to deal with the security deposit. 

If you run into trouble with your security deposit, your landlord will be easier on you if you’re a consistent tenant over the months. Pay on time as much as possible. If you can’t, ensure you communicate with your landlord for the best results.

hash-markGive Back the Keys

When you move out, give the landlord back the keys. You should talk to them and figure out a time that will work with both of your schedules. This will give you one last chance to get on good terms with them before you go.

If you don’t give back the keys, they might take funds from your security deposit. You might even lose the funds. It’s not worth keeping the key - ensure you give it back.   

hash-markKnow What You Are Owed

Every state has different security deposit rules. After a certain amount of time, several states have laws that require the landlord to give back the security deposit. Without a good reason, they can’t make you pay fees. 

hash-markWhen Do You Get Your Security Deposit Back?

You should typically get your rental security deposit back within 30 days of moving out. The exact timeline will depend on local and state laws, as well as the speed your landlord processes the refund. 

If you haven’t received a security deposit refund within 30 days, and you feel like your money is being kept from you unjustly, you should consult a lawyer or head to a small claims court to get the refund you deserve. Many states have laws that will punish landlords who do not refund your security deposit within a reasonable time frame. Just be sure to ensure you are in the right before following through with legal action.