As a renter, you have a responsibility to keep your apartment in good condition, because you live there, because you may want to rent other apartments in the future, and to ensure the return of your rent deposit. When renting apartments, landlords often check your rental and credit history. If you have previously been a poor tenant, they may choose not to let you rent their apartment and select another tenant instead.
While cleaning before you move out is a big part of ensuring the return of your security deposit, maintaining the rental unit throughout your lease will make it easier to clean and avoid costly repairs. Here are some tips for maintaining your apartment while you live there to safeguard your deposit money.
Keeping your apartment clean during your lease is a significant first step in helping to ensure the return of a rental security deposit. However, certain damages can quickly add up in cost, especially if they’re not repairs you can make before handing in your keys.
Being proactive about maintaining appliances, counters, floors and other surfaces is key to preventing costly and difficult repairs at the end of your lease term.
Countertops, especially kitchen counters, are commonly damaged by renters due to neglect or carelessness. The most common countertop damages include stains, scratches and water damage. Try to clean up any spills in a timely fashion for starters.
When cleaning countertops, use a cleaner that is approved for your type of countertop. For example, if you have granite or quartz countertops, avoid the use of steel wool scrub pads, cheap oven cleaners, and bleach. These items can lead to scuffs, stains and discolorations – and further damages. If you’re not sure what to clean your countertops with, ask your landlord or apartment office about the countertop material.
Rent deposits are commonly lost due to carpet damages as well. If you have pets, make sure that they are not chewing or scratching carpeted areas. If they are, you can try a pet deterrent, such as bitter apple spray. Avoid tracking mud through carpeted areas, as well as spills and burns as much as possible. Severe spills and burns can damage a carpet enough that it may need to be replaced when it’s time for you to move out.
Kitchen and bathroom cabinets are other overlooked areas. Damage to cabinets can gouge your rental security deposit, so it’s essential to keep these areas dry and prevent water damage. Using disposable liners can help you do just that. These are especially important in the kitchen, where damp dishes could otherwise be placed inside vulnerable cabinets.
Another tip: Check your sinks for leaks frequently. Leaks allow water to drip down onto wooden cabinet bottoms, quickly damaging the wood and potentially causing mold-related issues. If you notice a leak, put a pot beneath the leak immediately and clean up the water that’s already sitting in your cabinet. Contact your landlord or apartment office for maintenance as soon as possible before the leak worsens.