Paying a security deposit of some amount is a standard part of signing a lease. It could be equal to your rent for one, two, or even three months. Your landlord has a right to ask for a security deposit in order to protect him or herself from any damage you cause while you live on his or her property. It is also guaranteed compensation if you stop paying your rent. At the end of your lease, however, you have the right to ask for your security deposit back. Moving is expensive, and that security deposit could be used to pay long distance movers to help with the move. The question is: how do you get the security deposit back?
Read Your Lease Agreement
Read through your lease and look for the part where it mentions the conditions for getting your security deposit back. This will help you decide whether or not you even qualify for getting the security deposit back. You also need to make sure you give your landlord written and verbal notice that you are moving. Your landlord should be given at least a 30 day notice (more if the lease requires more). This gives your landlord time to make arrangements to get someone else moved into the property.
Refer a Tenant
If you had a good landlord and you know someone looking for a place, consider referring them to your landlord. This will put your landlord in a good mood, which can increase the chances of getting your security deposit back. Your landlord may not feel as strapped for money in this situation, which will cause him or her to hold onto your security deposit with a little less of a grip.
Give Your Landlord Your Address
It is important for your landlord to have your address. This is because some states have laws in place which say a landlord can keep a security deposit if he or she cannot locate the tenant. Furthermore, every state has their own set of rules regarding how a landlord has to give a security deposit back. Taking the time to look up these rules for where you live is the easiest way to protect yourself.
Your landlord is going to inspect the property after you move out. They are looking for any damages they want to fix with the security deposit you paid. It is a good idea to take pictures of the property before you officially move out. This will protect you if the landlord tries to make you pay for damages that are not really there.
You'll also want to make sure the unit is completely clean before moving out. It may be helpful to hire a moving service to deal with packing or loading boxes into a truck so you can focus on getting the unit clean.