If you’re renting, you will have supplied your landlord or property manager with a security deposit. Getting it back when you move out is not difficult at all. Basically, the deposit is in place to make sure that you can be held accountable for any damages.

In what instances will the landlord keep the security deposit?

  • Part or all of the security deposit will be kept if you leave the property with damage that occurred during your tenancy. A bit of wear and tear is usually acceptable within reason. Any feature that will need replacing before a new tenant will come out of your deposit if it happened during your time.
  • If anything that was in the house when you moved in is lost or broken by you.
  • If locks were replaced or removed, or walls were painted without permission.
  • Any outstanding rent or utility bills that you owe the landlord.
  • If you remain in the property after you were supposed to hand in the keys. This means that a new rent-paying tenant was unable to move in, thus, you have to make up that difference.

How to make sure you get your security deposit back

  • Give plenty of notice that you intend to move. At least thirty days. Keep a copy of your notice.
  • Find a new tenant to take over your lease if you haven’t seen your lease out.
  • Pay your rent up until the date you move out. This way, your deposit can’t be held as payment for unpaid rent.
  • Clean, clean, clean. Shampoo carpets, scrub the tiles and make sure there is no damage caused by you, your guest or your pets. Remove all rubbish, food and cleaning supplies prior to inspection. After you’ve cleaned, clean again.
  • If you painted anything, paint it back. Patch holes, put batteries in the smoke detector and ensure there are no blown light bulbs.
  • Take photos of the rental property after you’ve emptied it out to show its cleanliness and shape. These photos should look exactly like the ones you took when you moved in. It’s important to have documented any pre-existing damage and have it acknowledged and documented by your landlord or real estate agent.
  • Make sure your landlord knows where you’re moving to. If they can’t find you, they won’t be able to pay you. Or they might use it as an excuse to not follow it up.

Basically in order for it to be rented to a new tenant, the property needs to be in the same shape it was when you first moved in. Whatever it costs for the landlord to restore it, will be taken out of your security deposit. It helps you, as a tenant, to be cautious along the way during the term of your lease. Always document how the property looks the moment you move in is ideal, as well as making sure you know what can and can’t be done to it. If you’re a responsible renter, your security deposit will be back in your bank account in no time without any fuss.