It can feel like
Christmas when at the end of the lease agreement
you get your security deposit back. Although it
seems unlikely, it happens more often than you
think (especially if you completed a move-in checklist
and took detailed pictures of the apartment's
condition when you got it). Here are some tips
to make sure you don't get charged fix-up fees
and instead get all of your money back.
Pay Any Outstanding Bills
Late rent fees, utility overages and
other fees owed to the complex or
its partners will be deducted from
your security deposit. Much like the
university pays itself your tuition
before handing out financial aid;
apartment complexes also have to pay
themselves before they return your
Check your Records
Pull out your move-in checklist and
photos you took upon move-in and compare
them to your apartment now. You want
to make sure everything looks exactly
the way it did when you moved in.
Clean Up Your Mess
Apartment complexes have to pay cleaning
companies to make sure apartments are in
move-in order. Any extra fees they have
to pay for tough-to-clean ovens, toilets,
cabinets or refrigerators will be paid with
your security deposit.
Routinely cleaning your apartment will keep
tough-to-beat grime and dirt from accumulating,
making the final cleaning process much less
painful. It will also keep your apartment
looking the way it did when you moved in.
Or in the case of renting, don't paint.
Complexes require that the apartment is
retuned in the manner it was presented;
this includes walls being the same color.
It might seem like a good idea to paint
your personality on your walls. But you'll
be regretting it when you get slapped with
a repainting fee, or when you're trying
to cover up forest green walls with 20 layers
of eggshell white.
Burned out light bulbs, smudges on walls…the
little things add up. Fix minor problems
yourself to avoid being charged an extra
fee for materials and labor.
Is your AC dragging? Your shower not draining?
Call maintenance as soon as you notice a
problem to avoid the problem getting worse
and having to pay for it after you've moved
You have the option to "walk"
the apartment with the office staff when
they inspect your apartment before move
out. This way you can see for yourself what
you might be charged for.
Leave Nothing Behind
Complexes will charge you for taking out
your trash or tossing the old cosmetic bag
you didn't want. Avoid the nominal fees
by making sure you leave with everything
you came in with.