Most tenants are eager to have their security deposit returned to them when they decide to move out of their rental. In many cases, they need that money to use as a security deposit on a new place or even need it to put towards a downpayment on a home. Whatever the circumstances, it is always gratifying when the full amount returns to the tenant upon moving out of their rental. Here are some ways to ensure that your security deposit is returned.

Read the lease carefully before moving in.

Make sure to read the lease carefully. It will tell you what is expected to have the security deposit refunded. The lease will also list reasons why your deposit may not be returned such as failure to pay rent, failure to pay utilities, broken or missing appliances, fans, or light fixtures and breaking your lease early to name a few. Once you have read the lease, keep it in your files for the duration of your stay.

Inspect the dwelling and take photos before moving in.

Before moving into your new place, be sure to go room by room and record the condition of each room. Make a note of any concerns, such as worn carpeting, cracks in countertops, missing door stops, etc. Be as thorough as possible with your written list and make sure to take photos of each concern. Follow your inspection with an email to your landlord detailing any concerns. Be sure to print and save the email in your files as documentation in the future.

Report any damages immediately during your lease.

Accidents happen to everyone. If you cause any damage to the rental, notify the landlord via email immediately. Document the damage with photos. Print and save all communication between yourself and the landlord. Once repairs are made, document all with photos. If an appliance is not working correctly or the air conditioning is malfunctioning, report it immediately. Document when the landlord makes the repairs and keep this information for your records. Don’t let any damages or failing equipment go too long without reporting them.

Keep your rental in good condition at all times.

One complaint that most landlords have is that from time to time they have a tenant who is irresponsible. Perhaps they feel less responsible because they do not own the dwelling. Make sure that you are a responsible tenant during your time as the tenant. Keep your dwelling clean. Clean up stains and spills immediately. Clean behind the appliances regularly. Avoid putting nails and screws in the walls when Command Hooks and similar adhesive mounting will work. Clean the grout. Mop and dust. Be a model tenant and take pride in your home.