Fall is in the air, leases are expiring and tenants are wondering how on earth to recoup hefty security deposits from slick landlords. Precious little on earth is more difficult than prying a much-needed buck out of the hands of a greedy landlord. Many first-time homebuyers are especially nervous as every penny counts toward a comfortable down payment.
The Aitken Home Team is here to help with nine suggestions for nervous tenants:
1. – Organization is Key
Find every document related to your rental and organize a binder containing the information. Understand the corresponding process for lease termination and go over the top to comply.
2. – Documentation Saves Wallets
It is not uncommon for landlords to stretch the limitations of daily wear and tear, therefore it is imperative that all documentation, photos, and other related “evidence” be retained for your departure walk-through. If possible, shoot a video of the property before your final exit. The goal is to make it difficult for a landlord or property management company to argue with you. Retain a log of all contact you have had with the landlord/property manager and maintenance staff along with e-mail communications.
3. – Notify Landlord
Determine the appropriate notice with which to inform your landlord of your plans to relocate. This is more of a courtesy than a requirement, however, it is important to maintain a good relationship for your benefit and the landlord will appreciate the communication.
4. – Move Out in Unison
If you have roommates who also plan to vacate, try to move out on the same day they intend to leave. This will avoid the need to deal with any junk they might leave behind.
Related: “10 Things NOT to Pack”
5. – Deep Clean
Be sure to thoroughly scrub the property from floor to ceiling before you vacate. Hire a professional cleaning service if necessary, especially if your deposit was hefty. Detail cleaning is imperative behind appliances, light switches, door frames, and windows. In the event that you hire a professional, be sure to retain the receipt as proof.
6. – Mock Inspection Part 1
Mock inspections are a great way to ensure you are leaving a property in tip-top shape. Consider inviting friends to come over and inspect your place with a fine-tooth comb. Make a list of all damages and note our landlord’s responsibility to repair them versus your own.
7. – Mock Inspection Part 2
Request that your landlord or management company perform a pre-inspection inspection. Be sure to do this approximately five to seven days before your official move-out date so as to allow for any repairs.
8. – Repairs
As mentioned above, give yourself time to address any and all repairs for which you are responsible. Maintain receipts and consult professionals when and where necessary.
Related: “15 Tasks to Complete Prior to Your Big Move”
9. – Know Your Rights
It’s important to have a good handle on local landlord/tenant laws. Do your research to better understand your rights and your landlord’s responsibilities. For example, it is illegal in many states for landlords to retain deposits without explanation. Property management companies are typically aware of the laws, however, some might tend to “forget”. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and remain patient and polite while doing so.
For more information, contact The Aitken Home Team today!