Rescue Your Security Deposit Refund

Moving is hard, trust us. If you haven’t calculated the Real Cost of Moving, visit our previous blog post before you turn in your notice.

If you do plan on moving out, follow these simple steps to maximize your security deposit refund.

  1. Clean the unit before you move out.

    The golden rule in property management is to leave the apartment or home in the same condition it was given to you, minus any normal “wear and tear” such as worn down carpet areas from foot traffic. To avoid cleaning costs that can range from $200-$500, clean it yourself. Make sure to read your lease to see if steam cleaning is required so you’re not hit with the cost later.

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  2. Fix any pet damage.

    No, your pet fee or pet rent does not cover damages your pet did to the unit while living there, unless it was deemed a deposit or otherwise specified in your lease agreement. Replacements for chewed up blinds are an easy purchase at a hardware store for $5 that can cost up to $20 per blind if you wait for the landlord to replace after you move out.

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  3. Ask your landlord for a move out checklist.

    Make sure you know in advance what your landlord will be looking for during your final walkthrough after you move out. Being prepared will allow you to get the unit back into pre-move in condition so you get back as much of your deposit as possible. Do they require you get a professional cleaning? Does your lease have any other requirements? Don’t be blindsided!

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  1. Pay your last month’s rent on time.

    Many people confuse their security deposit as paying for the last month’s rent, but that is usually not the case. Check your lease agreement first, and unless it’s specifically stated, do not assume you can use it as such. In most cases, your deposit is to only be used after you move out to charge against any damages to the unit. Any unpaid balances such as rent will also be applied, which can leave you owing money. Avoid ruining your credit and rental history by paying the full month or per-day rent on time as usual before you move out.

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Depending on your state’s landlord tenant laws, it can take up to 30 days to receive your final statement and security deposit refund. Careful planning and move-out prep can set you up to receive as large a refund as possible!

The Real Cost of Moving

We’ve all been there: Your lease is expiring very soon, and you only have a few days to notify your landlord if you’re moving or renewing your lease.

Use these guidelines to determine your all-in, out-of-pocket cost of moving.

New Security Deposit – $1,000 (usually equal to 1 months’ rent)
First Month’s Rent – $1,000
Application & Admin Fees – $350
Pet Fees – $300 (if applicable)
New Utility Deposits – $350
Moving Company or Truck Rental – $200
Moving Boxes/Supplies – $100
Groceries – $150
Unexpected Expenses – $100

Total Moving Budget = $3,250 – $3,550

Creating a budget is the first step to determine if you’re ready to move. Although new groceries and utility deposits seem excessive, remember that starting over often means starting from scratch on both fronts. Be sure to add a cushion for unexpected expenses like gas for the 20 trips between your old & new places or your car needing repair in the middle of the big move.

Not ready to fork over that amount of dough? Ask yourself why you want to move in the first place.

  • If it’s related to maintenance or unit condition, contact your property manager to discuss possible resolutions.
  • Does the rent increase bother you? In truth, rents usually increase about 3% per year to keep up with inflation. Talk to your property manager if you think there’s room to negotiate a better rate. Remember, rents will increase everywhere, so moving doesn’t guarantee a fixed rental rate for the future.
  • Switching jobs and need a better location? Your community manager may have other properties closer to work, so ask! You may be able to transfer your security deposit or negotiate your rental amount just for being a loyal renter.

Renewal perks are becoming pretty common, so find out if there could be a free carpet cleaning or unit upgrade offer for renewing your lease. The more years you sign on for, the bigger your bargaining power.

If your landlord participates in Till’s Loyalty Program, your monthly on-time cash incentive may increase to $20, $30, or even $40 per month! Wow!

Total up your costs versus any potential savings or perks to renewing before making your ultimate decision. Happy renting!

Slow Mover