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How to Get a Security Deposit Refund
Nearly all rental properties require a security deposit paid in advance upon lease agreement acceptance. While most people are eager to receive this deposit back at the end of the term, not all renters receive the deposit money upon lease termination. There are many instances that can change the issuance of a security deposit after leases have ended. Learning how to get a security deposit refund the right way is helpful to any renter.
4 Steps to a Successful Security Deposit Refund
1. Attend Inspections Prior to Renting
2. Learn Security Deposit Laws
3. Ask About Possible Deductions
4. Document Pre-Vacancy Cleaning
Attend Initial Inspections
Every property owner or landlord wants to be certain that the condition of a property at time of rental is documented. A person who is renting for the first time from a new property owner should request to attend the inspection of the property. This inspection is used to document the pre-rental condition of the home before a person takes over as a new tenant. Issues that arise during an inspection can be documented to ensure these will not be deducted from the security deposit at lease end.
Know State Security Deposit Laws
Most U.S. states have legislation that determines the initial amount of a security deposit as well as the refund procedures. There are various resources that can be used to find this information at the state level. The Nolo.com resource does provide information to renters seeking statewide information about landlord-tenant issues. Learning the laws in the state where homes are rented can protect renters when it comes to security deposit issues.
Inquire About All Deposit Deductions
The security deposit is used to deduct a number of costs that a landlord would incur after a lease is terminated. These can include cleaning the home, paying for repairs, fixing appliances or other expenses that can be deducted from an initial deposit. Asking in advance what types of deductions are made if issues arise can prevent surprises at the end of a lease term. Normal wear and tear of a property is usually not deductible from a security deposit on a rental home.
Document Cleaning Before Vacating a Home
Homes are expected to be in the same livable condition after vacancy as they were upon initial lease start dates. This is the purpose of the pre-rental inspection at the start of a lease. The same type of inspection is completed at the end of a lease by a property owner. Before renters vacate a property, it is helpful to document any type of cleaning completed.
This can be completed with videos, photographs or signed witness statements of the work. This can help eliminate potential issues that could arise one to two months after leases are terminated and security deposits are expected to be refunded.
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