It’s common for landlords to require a rental security deposit before you can be approved to live in an apartment. Rent deposits protect landlords from financial loss and property damages. If you break specific clauses of your lease, do not keep your unit in good condition, or leave a mess when you move out – landlords have the legal right to keep a portion or all of your deposit to cover expenses. But there are ways to stop that from happening!
A security deposit for apartments is commonly 2 to 3 times the monthly rent amount. When you move, that money can be hugely helpful for covering the cost of your next apartment or home. So, do you want to ensure the return of your rent deposit? Learn how you can do just that with these tips.
To understand exactly how to get an apartment deposit back, you first have to learn the situations in which your landlord can legally withhold your security deposit.
Keep in mind, your rental security deposit can be withheld for financial expenses and damages such as:
- Not paying your rent
- Damaging the property beyond normal wear and tear
- Not keeping the apartment clean and requiring the landlord to cover this cost
- Leaving your personal items behind and requiring the landlord to remove/dispose of them
Damage and cleaning costs are some of the most common reasons why rent deposits are withheld after a tenant moves out. Also, damages that result in drywall repair, carpet replacement, new doors and so on can quickly add up.
Meanwhile, when it comes to withholding a security deposit for rent due to damage, it’s good to know that regular wear and tear is not considered part of damages. For example, a carpet might fray a little over time; that would not be regarded as damages. However, stain removal, burns, holes and damage caused by pets can all go against your deposit to cover the costs of cleaning or replacing that carpet. Similarly, apartments that are left dirty will need to be professionally cleaned, and those cleaning costs are deducted from your security deposit money.
Owed rent can also impact the return of a rent deposit. If you owe money to your landlord, most states allow landlords to deduct the amount from your remaining deposit before returning any difference to you.
In many states, landlords must provide a letter stating they are not refunding the security deposit or an invoice detailing the expenses that part or all of your deposit was put towards. The letter or invoice commonly details each repair or expense for the authority in question.
You may also be wondering, “How long does a landlord have to return a deposit?” The answer varies by location. Each state determines the amount of time that landlords have to return a deposit, minus any applicable fees. Typically, landlords must return deposits within 30 to 60 days.