Spring has definitely arrived in Columbus! The warmer temperatures, sunshine, and green grass mean one thing in the real estate business—the rental season is here! Whether you are moving in or out of a new home, one thing is certain that you want to get your security deposit back! Here are four tips to help you make that happen:
- PAY YOUR RENT-Make sure your account is current with your landlord and you or your roommates do not owe any current or past due rent. If you have been paying your rent on time all year, but your roommates have NOT then the landlord may use a portion of your deposit to cover the rent your roommate owes. Check with your housemates before you get a surprise deduction from your check.
- PAY YOUR UTILITY BILLS-Along with being current on your rent, check that the utility bills are paid. If the landlord ends up paying for the electric, gas or water for your unit this will get charged back to you. Again, talk with your roommates to make sure the bills have a zero balance so you can avoid this type of deduction from your deposit.
- REPAIR OR REPORT ANY MAJOR DAMAGE-The idea of “normal wear and tear” can be hard to define but a good rule of thumb is to think of how the house you grew up in looked from year to year. The walls might have a few more nicks or the carpet is a little dirtier, but generally, it looked the same as the year before. If your apartment has holes in the walls or carpet or damage to appliances, you are going to have to pay for these repairs. Contact your landlord to see what these repairs might cost as having them repair it and charge you might be the least expensive option.
- REMOVE ALL OF YOUR BELONGINGS FROM THE APARTMENT-This is a self-explanatory tip, basically get ALL your stuff out which includes your knick-knacks and all of that bulky, heavy furniture that you don’t want to move. Someone needs to move it out and if it is not you, you will get a bill to have someone else move it for you.
- GIVE LANDLORD YOUR FORWARDING ADDRESS OR ACCOUNT INFORMATION-Once you complete all the steps above, you have one last CRITICAL step to make sure you receive your security deposit a month after your lease ends. You need to give your landlord your new address or your account information if the check is delivered electronically. Without this information, your money will be in a holding pattern or worse yet, in the U.S. mail’s forwarding system which means your landlord might wait until he or she receives that check back before issuing you a new one.
As the spring fever hits and you get the itch to move, just remember these five tips and you will be pleasantly surprised when your security deposit arrives!