Renters, don’t let your love affair with wallpaper prevent you from getting your hefty security deposit check back at the end of your lease. You have to be smart tenants. Kari Taylor, director of rental insights at Rent.com, tells us how.
Read your lease
“This may seem like common sense, but so many renters miss the specific guidelines laid out by their landlord regarding the return of their deposit,” she says. “A list should be made and agreed upon regarding the conditions of the apartment in the lease — before you sign it.”
Takes pictures of something other than food and sunsets
“Take some photos of the apartment when you first move in,” Taylor suggests. “Make sure they are time- and date-stamped! Then repeat the process on move-out day. This way pre-existing damage is documented and the blame cannot fall on you.”
Ask before you, say, paint the walls red
“When renting, it is always best to get written permission from your landlord before doing any renovations, changing paint color, etc.”
The pet Amendment
“Landlords will often bend some of their lease rules for a trustworthy tenant or a special circumstance. If you agree upon an amendment to the lease (your miniature pooch can stay on the premises) make sure you both sign it and date it and, if at all possible, get the amendment reworked into the paperwork.
“While you may think you’re as clean as a whistle, your landlord may not agree,” she says. “It may be worth hiring a cleaning service upon move-out day just to cover all your bases. The $100 clean up may save you the aggravation of an argument and security deposit dispute down the line.”
Work with your landlord
“There is no guarantee that a landlord will negotiate you breaking your lease, but maybe there is a compromise that can be met. For instance, you could help find a replacement tenant.”