How to maximize the return of your security deposit - American Stages.
by Brie Camacho
The first and best defense for getting the security deposit back is to thoroughly review your lease. Understand what you’re getting into when you move into the home, and you’ll know what to expect when you move out. How to Get/maximize your Security Deposit, review your rental agreement prior to moving out (and moving in). American Stages Realty & Property Management requires a pre-move-out inspection to prepare the unit, a pre-move-out inspection is MANDATORY and can only be scheduled Monday - Friday between 9 AM - 2 PM. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to re-read your lease before moving out. Your rental lease should tell you how and when the tenant is required to notify the landlord of their move-out date. It should also lay out the terms and conditions for getting the security deposit back – including the number of days the landlord has to return the security deposit back to the tenant, as well as the move-out inspection requirements. In Santa Barbara County California a landlord has 21 days from the date the keys were received to provide a Move out security deposit accounting statement.
When you move in, be sure to document any and all damage to the home that already exists. Take photos of any holes or marks in the wall, as well as general wear and tear throughout the home. American Stages does a thorough move-in inspection by taking a general photo of each room, and photos of the inside and outside of appliances and showers/toilets. This is in addition to a written move-in inspection. While the laws surrounding lease termination differ from state to state (and lease to lease), it’s generally expected that you must give your landlord at least 30 days’ notice when moving out. Be sure to read over your lease’s terms and conditions for further details about termination. Without giving your landlord proper notice, you’ll most likely be required to pay at least one additional month’s worth of rent, and you’ll have to wait a long time to get that security deposit back.
Once you and your property manager have assessed the damages, spend your last month in the home fixing any and everything needed. While you should leave complicated repairs to the professionals, easier fixes can be handled by yourself. These repairs may include patching holes in the wall using spackling (putty) and painting a room back to its original color. Before bidding farewell to your old home, make sure to give it one last deep clean. This doesn’t just mean vacuuming a few floors. No – it means cleaning and scrubbing as thoroughly. A clean home will make it much more likely that your landlord will return the security deposit in full.
Ultimately your biggest chance at maximizing the return of your security deposit is to leave the home, condo, studio, or apartment exactly how you got it. If needed some key factors to focus on while preparing to schedule your move for our inspection is as followed.
Flooring, clean all tile & hardwood flooring, Carpets must be professionally cleaned with a truck mount machine & receipt must be provided, have any tears or holes repaired, remove any pet stains & odors, have any broken tiles repaired, vacuum all carpets and clean all baseboards.
Walls, wash down walls paying extra attention to areas around fans & vents, remove all cobwebs from corners & ceilings, wipe down all switch plates, remove all nails, tape, hooks, wall mounts, adhesive, &/or push pins, and properly repair any damage, properly patch & repaint any holes with matching paint, clean vent covers & fan blades, Clean all door jambs, trim &/or crown molding.
Windows and doors, clean windows inside & out including tracks & sills, clean window blinds Fix &/or replace any broken windows, screens, blinds, Make Sure all doors & locks work properly, clean all doors, frames & knobs Return all keys.
Kitchen, repair any appliances damaged, Clear any clogged drains, Clean sink, and all countertops & backsplash, Clean cabinets inside & out including pantries & shelves, Replace any damaged/missing cabinet hardware, Clean inside and out of microwave including any filters, Clean Fridge inside, outside & under including under drawers & seals, Clean dishwasher inside & out including removing any food particles from the filter, Thoroughly clean stove/oven inside & outside including drip pans, broilers and clean any food droppings on the side & underneath, Remove grease, dust & dirt from the exhaust fan & overhead light.
Additional and important items to consider when preparing for your move out, ensure all smoke detectors are up & working replace batteries if needed, replace burnt-out light bulbs, cleaning all light fixtures inside & out, Clear out all belongings from cabinets, closets drawers etc. Remove all outdoor belongings from patio, balcony, yard etc. Clean all patio areas, Return all door keys, mail keys, garage door openers, FOBS, Amenity keys etc. Take out any leftover trash, if pets are present, please contract fumigation company to fumigate the inside of your unit for fleas.