Good Renter: How to Get Your Security Deposit Back Featured

07 January 2013 1363 times
Be A Good Renter! Be A Good Renter!

All renters move in with the best of intentions.  They believe they will only be renting for a year.  "I'll clean every weekend", they say.  Then they do decide to move out, and found they didn't do so well on their promises.  Kool-aid stains in the carpet, baked-on grease in the oven, dirt around each light switch.  This wasn't the condition of the apartment on move-in day.  Now, cleaning takes a full 12-hour day and risk losing your security deposit.  What to do?

A Clean Home Is A Happy Home

Keeping your rental clean is an important step to earning back your deposit.  Devote up to an hour each day to keep your home clean.  Vacuum, dust, wash down walls, pickup trash....all of these "small job" items can be completed while cooking supper during the week.  In addition, choose 1 "big job" to tackle each week.  A "big job" would be like cleaning the oven, shampooing the carpets or cleaning out the refridgerator.  These jobs should be finished at least once every quarter and can take between an hour and 3 hours to complete.  However, your home will look better, smell better and be more inviting to your guests.  Above all, your landlord will thank you with a better return on your deposit.

Nail holes: Small Holes, Big Repairs

Want to hang pictures in your apartment?  Don't use nails or adhesive hooks or tape!  These items are hard to repair and will require painting afterwards (all of which uses up your security deposit!).  Some stores carry "no repair EZ Hooks", however we cannot recommend these hooks as we have yet to test them.  Your best bet is to not hang anything on your walls or make any alterations whatsoever.  This will maximize your security deposit return.

Furnace Filter Replacement

Just like in a home, your apartment requires monthly furnace filter replacement.  When originally leased, your apartment was fitted with a brand new furnace filter.  Your landlord requires a new filter to be installed on move-out day.  But between move-in and move-out day, having a dirty furnace filter increases your electric bill significantly!  Change your furnace filter monthly!

Smoking Can Kill Your Security Deposit!

By now we all know the dangers of smoking to our bodies.  However, smoking in a confined area (such as your apartment) can cause more than just bodily injury to ourselves and our children. 

The tar and nicotine in cigarettes will get on everything. 

  • It will cause your ceilings and walls to brown and look very dirty, which will cost additional security deposit money to repair.
  • The tar will get into your heating and air conditioning units and cause them to not work as well.  Not only that but you will need to change your furnace filter more often! 
  • No smoking in the home also saves having cigarette burns and holes in the carpet.  Replacing your carpet after moving out is a major expense and will eat up your entire security deposit! 

If you cannot quit smoking, resolve to only smoke outside your rental unit and putting your cigarette butts in a sand-filled receptical (like an old flower pot).  This will keep your home looking and smelling clean and will make cleaning up your butts extremely simple on trash day. 


While no one likes cleaning and maintaning their homes, doing just an hour of maintenance per day can go a long way to maximizing your security deposit return.  Remember, your landlord wants his properties to stay clean and defect-free for the next renter.  Additional work to repair the unit will cause significant delays and restoration costs.  Your landlord wants his tenants to have a clean, well-maintained home to live in.  Any damage found to the unit will be deducted from your security deposit.  If no damage is found, you are entitled to your entire security deposit back!


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