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The Home Depot

10 Apartment Tips to Recover a Security Deposit

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Cleaning > 10 Apartment Tips to Recover a Security Deposit
10 Apartment Tips to Recover a Security Deposit

As soon as you decide to move, it seems as though a laundry list of things to do appears out of nowhere. You’ve got to find a new place, get boxes, figure out when it will happen, toss out unwanted items, and the list goes on and on and on. One of the more stressful parts of moving, at least if you have been living in an apartment, is getting back your security deposit.


A security deposit is a sum of money that is paid when two parties enter into a contract. It ensures that, in the case that you cause serious damage to their property, the landlord has some of your funds to fix it so that the place can be rented again.


These days, there are very few people who can afford to treat the loss of any amount of money lightly. If you are serious about getting your valuable dollars back at the end of your lease, make sure to read these 10 apartment tips to recover a security deposit.

  1. 1.Don’t Leave Holes in the Walls

    Holes in the Walls

    Make sure that you use care when opening doors because a door swung open too hard can leave dents or even holes in the wall. You should also be careful when hanging things on the walls. Most landlords won’t mind tiny holes left by tacks or small nails, but be careful all the same. You can purchase hooks for hanging pictures and such that adhere to walls with no problem and are very easy to remove. When it comes to hanging other things like shelves or bookcases – ask your landlord what the policy is before you do it.

  2. 2.Avoid Stains

    Avoid Stains

    Be careful to avoid leaving stains on the floor, as they can be unsightly and difficult to remove. One way to avoid getting stains on the floor is by restricting all eating and drinking to the kitchen, where the floor is likely to be made of a surface that is easy to clean. You could also put down rugs or cushions to help protect the existing floors. Invest in a small carpet cleaner, so that you can tackle spills as soon as they happen – and have a better chance of getting them out. You can also ask your guests to remove their shoes prior to entering your apartment, to ensure that dirt and mud stay outside and away from your floors.

  3. 3.Don’t have Pets

    Don’t have Pets

    Or, at least, make it seem as though you don’t. Pets can be great companions – however, they can also cause big messes and bad smells. In fact, many landlords don’t allow them for that very reason. If you have a pet, make sure to clean up any “accidents” they have very thoroughly, and with a deodorizing cleaner. If you have a cat or dog, make sure they are trained answer nature’s call in the appropriate place. If your pets are confined to cages or bowls, clean them out regularly. Make sure your dogs get regular walks and plenty of exercise so that they are less likely to ruin anything inside the house.

  5. 4.Budget Time to Clean

    Budget Time to Clean

    There are a lot of things to get done when you are in the process of moving. Make sure cleaning up your place is at the top of your to-do list. Begin planning for your upcoming move at least a month in advance. Give yourself time to haul away trash or unwanted furniture, to pack, and to get rid of the food in the refrigerator. By giving yourself time to get everything done, you increase the likelihood that you’ll have time to tackle any unplanned for messes, holes or stains you may find as you pack up.

  6. 5.Treat your Appliances with Care

    Treat your Appliances with Care

    In many cases, your apartment may come with appliances like a washer, dryer, dishwasher and refrigerator. Treat these things like your own to ensure they stay in tip-top shape. Thoroughly read any handbooks for your appliances if they are available. Alert your landlord to any problems with the appliances as soon as you notice them so that they can be repaired quickly.

  7. 6.Be Fully Aware of your Rights

    Be Fully Aware of your Rights

    Know what your landlord expects from you at the time of move out, and what you should expect from your landlord. The rules that govern what goes on between a renter and landlord vary from state to state. Make sure you know what is applicable to you where you live. Learn how long the landlord has to give you back your deposit. Learn when they must give it back, and when they are authorized to keep it. Take the time to read your renter’s agreement completely before you sign it. If you have any questions, ask them as soon as you can.

  8. 7.Give Proper Notice

    Give Proper Notice

    When you agreed to move into your apartment, you and your landlord probably agreed that you would rent from them for a specific amount of time. If you move out before that agreed-upon time, that is called breaking your lease. In some cases, your landlord is authorized to keep your deposit if you decide to move before the agreed-upon time. Learn when you are supposed to give notice of your intent to move out and make sure to follow that rule when you’ve decided to leave.

  9. 8.Do a Walk-Through

    Do a Walk-Through

    Make sure to do a walkthrough with your landlord so that you will both be on the same page when it comes to the state of the place you are renting. During this walkthrough, point out any potential problem areas. For example, if you see signs of water damage, ask the owner if he or she plans to fix it and if so, when. Find out if there are any potential problems you should know about before-hand.

  11. 9.Take Pictures

    Take Pictures

    One good way to make sure you and your landlord are on equal footing when it comes to the shape of the apartment is to take pictures. Some landlords or rental companies will do a walkthrough at the beginning and the end of a lease agreement. At the beginning of the lease, take a few pictures of the apartment. Make sure to note any irregularities that were there before you moved in. Take another set of pictures prior to moving out. These pictures will be good evidence for you and the owner of are on the same page about the state of the apartment. The prevalence of cell phone and digital cameras means that taking pictures is, literally, a snap.

  12. 10.Get it in Writing

    Get it in Writing

    Even if you are friendly with the owner of the property you are renting, make sure to get your agreement put in writing. This way, you will both have an understanding, and a record of your agreement, should something bad happen. Make sure that your contract clearly outlines what is expected of both parties and all the stipulations concerning your renter’s agreement.

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