Top 6 Things Tenants Should Do before Moving Out of Their Apartment to keep their Security Deposit
Moving Out Check List
When you move out, there are some practical things to keep in mind that may help prevent problems and misunderstandings between you and your landlord after you’ve left.
- Leave the apartment in clean condition and remove your belongings.
Although a landlord cannot charge you for routine cleaning after you move out, if you have not cleaned the apartment or have left belongings there, the landlord may try to charge you for cleaning or removal of your belongings. If you paid a security deposit, the landlord may try to keep some or all of it. If you did not pay a security deposit, your landlord could sue you for cleaning and removal costs.
- Do a walk-through with the landlord.
If you are concerned that your landlord may charge you for problems that existed before you moved in, do a walk-through of the apartment before you move out. As you walk through the apartment, point out what conditions existed when you moved in. If possible, move out most or all of your belongings and clean the apartment before the walk-through so that these problems are plainly visible.
- Use your Statement of Condition.
If you paid the landlord a security deposit and signed a Statement of Condition when you moved in, use this statement to identify what problems existed before you lived there.
- Take pictures before you leave.
Before you close the door for the last time, take pictures in all the rooms to document the condition of your apartment. Make sure you date them. This will protect you if your landlord claims that you caused damage and tries to keep your security deposit. It is best to take pictures after you have moved out all of your belongings and cleaned the apartment, so the landlord cannot later claim, for example, that your furniture hid a big hole in the wall or that you left your refrigerator or the rugs in bad condition.
- Make sure your landlord gets your keys.
Deliver your keys no later than the agreed-upon move-out date. It is always best to have someone with you to witness the delivery in case the landlord later denies having received them.
- Arrange for the return of your security deposit.
Send your landlord a letter after you move out to arrange to get your security deposit back. You can either ask your landlord to send it to a particular address or make arrangements to pick it up. You may be owed interest on your security deposit.