Archive for Monday, July 26, 2010


Moving out? Get your full deposit back

July 26, 2010


Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, when moveout time comes, the best-case scenario is a clean property and a fully refunded security deposit.

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, when moveout time comes, the best-case scenario is a clean property and a fully refunded security deposit.

If you are moving out of a rental property, follow these simple steps to get your full security deposit back.

Step 1: Haul away all trash and debris from both inside and outside the house. Do not leave anything behind as a “favor” to the next tenant.

Step 2: Mow the yard, weed the gardens, sweep and clean all outdoor living areas, including porches, steps and sidewalks.

Step 3: Empty out all cupboards, drawers and closets. Use a damp cloth to wipe them down inside and out. Take all hangers or supplies with you.

Step 4: Remove everything, including ice, from the refrigerator and freezer. Clean both inside and out with warm soapy water. Dust the top and clean behind it, too. Once it is clean, leave the refrigerator running to keep it fresh inside.

Step 5: Clean the oven inside and out, including the sides. Clean the stove top and replace the drip pans beneath each burner.

Step 6: Clean all other appliances inside and out. Change the filter on the furnace and make sure the air conditioner is free of dust. Wipe register vents down with a damp cloth.

Step 7: Remove and clean all light fixture covers. Replace any burnt out light bulbs. Dust fan blades.

Step 8: Clean outlet covers and switch plates. Replace any that are missing or broken.

Step 9: Remove nails and hooks from walls. Patch any holes with spackling paste. Sand and paint, if necessary.

Step 10: Clean all walls and baseboards. Magic Eraser cleaning pads work miracles on scuff marks and finger prints. Antibacterial wipes work wonders on baseboards and trim.

Step 11: Dust mini blinds. Replace broken or missing window coverings.

Step 12: Clean doors and windows. Replace broken glass or torn screens.

Step 13: Clean toilets, including the outside and base of the toilet bowl.

Step 14: Clean your tub or shower with a solution of TSP to remove soap scum build up. Use a Clorox bleach pen to eliminate mildew stains along grout lines. Remove or replace the shower curtain. Wipe down cabinet drawers and cupboards.

Step 15: Sweep the floors, mop, vacuum and rent a carpet cleaner to shampoo the carpets.

Now take a deep breath and relax — if you did everything correctly, you should be seeing dollar signs in place of the dirt and dust you saw before.


LadyJ 7 years ago

If the kitchen has linolium, is it wise to move the refridgerator and risk tearing it? Was it pulled out when you moved in so you could see if it was clean in the first place?

imastinker 7 years ago

Refrigerators are typically on wheels. Have you looked behind yours? EWW....

It's gross.

LadyJ 7 years ago

This is not always the case though, better safe than sorry. Ask the landlord if he wants you to do this just to be safe. I have a friend who built a brand new house with wood floors and a new refrigerator. The fridge had to be pulled out for some reason and it put two huge scratches on the new floor. Years ago my son pulled out his fridge in an apartment and put a hole in the linoleum and they charged him to replace the linoleum.

LadyJ 7 years ago

"Haul away all trash and debris from both inside and outside the house. " Why when the city will do it for free?

imastinker 7 years ago

Really? I once hauled three pickup loads of trash left in and around the house from a rental unit. It was a full size pickup truck and had trash up a few feet higher than the top of the cab when it was loaded. The HOA was going to send a bill for removal because trash day was 6 days away. The city would not have picked up anything except what was on the curb.

I also had to replace a broken microwave, a countertop that had been used like a hot pad, flooring in the kitchen and bathroom, half a dozen large holes in the wall, half the screens in the windows and half the blinds, a bathtub that had a hole in it, and lots more.

We decided not to pursue the pet that was in the place against the lease and the garage door that was bent from running into it (it was new the year before), and the cigarette burns in the carpet of a no smoking house.

My bill to the landlord on that place was over $3000 and I did him a favor on parts of it. He never got more than the $850 deposit from the tenants.

LadyJ 7 years ago

Sorry, I was referring to trash left in the proper place. Yes, I've known tenants like the ones you discribe. I have driven by many huge piles of trash in my neighborhood left this weekend by people moving out and they will be there till trash day since we don't have HOAs around here. It cracks me up when they say laws favor the landlords. I agree management companies and some apartment complexes fleece the tenants. I'm sure my daughter is about to find that out. But the small landlords don't have lawyers on retainer and you can't sue a tenant in small claims court if they have not left a forwarding address and cannot be served.

LadyJ 7 years ago

"Change the filter on the furnace and make sure the air conditioner is free of dust" Seriously, you have to be kidding, this is maintenance and the landlord's responsibility.

timetospeakup 7 years ago

Hope your apartment isn't managed by Gage Management - if it is, you won't get your full deposit back anyway.

Kontum1972 7 years ago

do not leave your seeds in the dresser drawers....and don't leave your pets behind like gerbils, tarantulas, snakes and albino monkeys.

imastinker 7 years ago

These are great advice. The trick is to think like the person moving in. If they are going to be grossed out by the condition you leave the place, the landlord will have to do cleaning to it themselves. You will pay for this.

As a responsible tenant, you should have a copy of the move in inspection and pictures of the condition when you moved in. It should be in the same condition. The landlord will expect to do minor touch up painting, but not much more. You might even offer to help with this and make the job easier. Call them and ask if they can drop off some paint for you to do touch ups and ask them if they see anything while they are there that needs to be cleaned. You'll be done with the paint in half an hour and you know what they are looking for. They will be appreciative becuase you are helping them.

twaldaisy 7 years ago

Most definitely. I did not do this. Totally cleaned the place including shampooing carpets. Out of $1100 deposit I got $175 back. No damages whatsoever. I was told brand new carpeting had been put in when I moved, which was not the case, but I had no proof. Then they replaced the carpet anyway. Lived there 5.5 years and paid rent on time the entire time. Lawrence Landlords got it made and will and can rip you off.

Adrienne Sanders 7 years ago

"If they are going to be grossed out by the condition you leave the place, the landlord will have to do cleaning to it themselves. You will pay for this. "

Or, they will charge the previous tenant, but when you move in you'll have to clean everything yourself anyway, because the landlord didn't do anything. That's been my experience more often than not.

LadyJ 7 years ago

My daughter's lease specified that they are to make no nail holes and will be charged a certain amount for each one. They will be charged if they do make one and try to fill it in. Every mark on the paint will be charged for and they are forbidden to try to paint over them. They were not happy when we recorded every nail hole, scratch, and mark on the wall.

Maddy Griffin 7 years ago

Wow! I wonder if my landlord will see this?We had to do all this and more before we moved in.Then we had to install smoke detectors (which I thought was the law, and should have been done by the landlord) and put down snake repellent around the house.Now, everytime it rains, the carpet in the living room gets wet around the doorway (Backyard floods)and along the back wall. We're moving this weekend and the landlord wants us out by five because the new tenants can only get a truck for a few hours Saturday night. Sorry new folks, I'm leaving it better than I found it, but you will need to buy your own smoke detectors.

pagan_idolator 7 years ago

I never did understand the nail hole thing. Are people not allowed to decorate the houses they live in? Nail holes are not hard to fix.

twaldaisy 7 years ago

Substantial risk? The way they background check you and check your credit and then want all the money upfront...I see no risk. Of course I am a good renter and pay my rent and take care of where I live. Still got ripped off when I moved. Read the Act pretty much in favor of the landlord.

jhawks1234 7 years ago

Unless you live at a First Management property! They will take your deposit and give you a bill as a moving out present. I bought new drip pans and they still tried to charge me for them. They also tried to charge me for a door to be replaced because it had a hole in it (which was there when I moved in and was noted on the move-in inspection) They make you pay for a carpet cleaning crew then still charge you for wear in the carpet. Anyone who lives at any First Management apartments or any similar apartment complex, keep all your receipts and when you do your move-in inspection you need to be as brutally detailed and mark every little thing you notice in the apartment. They will try to screw you one way or another!

jhawks1234 7 years ago

I agree with you on cheap carpet, my current apartment had brand new carpet and every time I vacuum I have to take my vacuum apart and unclog it because the carpet sheds.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

For the many slumlords around town, keeping all or most of the deposit, and even billing over that amount for cleaning or repairing "damages" is a major part of their business plans.

As has already been stated, the best protection for tenants, in addition to taking good care of the property while you're there, is to make sure the initial walk-through is as thorough and well-documented as possible.

And if the landlord fails to do one with you, unless they have good evidence showing that you caused damage to the property, they are pretty much SOL in keeping your deposit-- go to small claims court if they try to.

K_Verses_The_World 7 years ago

Dear landlord Please don’t put a price on my soul My burden is heavy My dreams are beyond control

KansasPerson 7 years ago

Great list! Some of these things, of course, are things that (I would hope) a tenant would be doing regularly anyway.... for instance, if move-out day is the first time you've cleaned your toilet, then you might have bigger problems that getting your security deposit back. :) But seriously, if you do most of these things right along as part of your housecleaning.... dust the blinds, clean the fridge, wipe down the cupboards, and yes, we even change the furnace filter -- why would we not?? -- then move-out day will be MUCH less of a headache for you.

Best of luck to all who are moving in the next week!

helloannie 7 years ago

Let me add Mallard Properties to a place that is not so great to rent from and as someone who will hold on to your deposit for dear life.

workinghard 7 years ago

Wow, it is evident that I need to get a lot tougher on my tenants. Definitely need to think about making them mow the grass. There was one management place that charged my son almost his whole deposit for an outside underground water leak. He had a set water rate since the water bill was for three units. They recalculated how much he paid as opposed to what the bill actually had been. Now evidently this water leak had been there for a while. When I said how could they charge him for water for a leak that was outside on the other side of the yard and was not visible. They said he should have known by the increased water bill. Just one problem, he never saw the water bills since it went to the management. Although, that is why I prefer to include the water in my rent, so I get the bills and can see immediately if there is a problem.

somedude20 7 years ago

Face it folks, landlords in this town (have rented in 5 different states) are like the banks in that they make a killing (and count on) that revenue (banks have overdraft fees and LL have the security deposit) I know that my landlord takes most of the SD offering third rate excuses as to what you were charge for. I have had friends move out of the building I live in and have seen first hand the "professional" cleaners come on in (and they are the landlords family). They say that they take out a said amount of money to professionally clean but when that consists of two teens and their grandmother cleaning with no professional supplies (or skills) I find that to be BS. The walls were not painted before I moved in and after living there for 3 years guess who will be paying for that when I move out (hint, not the LL) I guess that if you believe that you will not be getting anything back, then you might as well earn it, that is what I will do! Oh, and it takes an act of god to get her to fix anything

workinghard 7 years ago

My mother cleaned for an apartment complex and got $50 per apartment and yet they would charge the tenant that much just for the bathroom.

somedude20 7 years ago

Landlords in this town have criminal in them than did Mrs. Gotti, Mrs. Capone and Mrs. Madoff all put together

somedude20 7 years ago

should have read: Landlords in this town have more criminal in them....

LadyJ 7 years ago

Well Linda, don't tell people to use Magic Eraser on walls cause landlord said they had to paint the entire apartment because we used Magic eraser on scuff marks. Of course, if Northwind didn't use the cheapest paint out there, you could wipe off the walls.

LadyJ 7 years ago

Charged $40 for adding a chainlock that was there when she moved in.

LadyJ 7 years ago

During the checkout walk through, nothing was said about there being a chainlock on the door that wasn't suppose to be there. They asked if she had installed the deadbolt and she told them it was already there when she moved in. In fact the key fit both the deadbolt and the doorknob.

LadyJ 7 years ago

Anyone else out there have a bad experience this year? Don't mean you just vaccumed and wiped the counters down, I mean you really cleaned and left it in the same or better condition.

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