Handshake with moneyGetting back a security deposit can be a stressful experience.  It is just one more thing to worry about as you move, and some landlords are very reluctant to part with the money that is rightfully yours.  Read below for 5 tips to secure your security deposit.  

Read Your Lease

Make sure that you understand what your lease states about getting back your security deposit.  Utah law states that the landlord has to state if any of the deposit is non-refundable, as well as give you an itemized deductions list detailing why they are keeping some of your deposit.  Find out what things your landlord might deduct.  What condition do you need to leave your apartment in?  Do you need to fill in all nail holes, clean the windows, etc.?

Document Everything

When you first move in, take pictures of anything that might be deducted from your deposit.  If there is a hole in the wall, damage to windows, dirty carpets, etc. take a picture.  When you move out, take another picture to see what has changed.  Make sure that you get a move in checklist from your landlord and write down anything that is not perfect.  Make sure that you really take the time to do this, because if you don’t write it down, you may be charged for it.  Keep a record of this sheet.

Clean The Unit

When you move out, make sure that you leave the unit spotless, but more importantly, make sure that you are regularly cleaning the unit.  If your pet or kids damage something, take care of it.  Regularly clean the fridge, oven, bathrooms, etc.

Inspect the Unit With Your Landlord

Right before you move out, inspect the unit with your landlord, and try to get them to tell you right then what they might charge you for.  If you can, fix it before you leave.  Review your pictures that you took when you moved in and show them what damages were already there.  Go over the move in checklist as well, and ask if there is anything else that you need to do to get back your deposit.  Get as much as you can about this meeting in writing.

Talk to Your Landlord

If your landlord deducts anything that you don’t agree with, talk to them about it.  They are required to give you an itemization, detailing what they are deducting you for, so review it with them.  Make sure you go in well informed of state law and get all of your facts straight.  It may be helpful to write it down on a piece of paper.  Take notes at the meeting.