Written By: Andrew Reichek
Read your Apartment Lease
Before you do sign your lease, read it thoroughly. Everything you will need to know regarding your stay will be in this document. Now while it won’t point out specifically what the security deposit can be used for, chances are you will come across the terms normal wear and tear.
In almost all cases we have heard of, renters will never be responsible for wear and tear. Here are some examples
bull; worn carpeting from daily use
bull; door handles or knobs that have become loose
bull; cracks in the ceiling caused from the normal settling of the house
bull; washer or dryers that don’t seem to clean as effectively as they use to
As one can see, these aren’t damaged but have just worn down over time. Landlords expect this sort of thing to happen and they plan for it as well
However, items that have been damaged are the responsibility of the tenant to repair. Here are some examples.
bull; heavy scratching in wood floors
bull; cracked windows
bull; cracked tile in the bathrooms or damaged granite counters
bull; trash left behind yes you can be charged for this
What to Do Before You Sign Your Lease
Walkthrough the apartment home to check its status. It’s not uncommon for renters to refuse acceptance of the apartment home due to its condition. If you see any damage at this point it is time to notify the owner or maintenance crew. You might also want to take photos of anything you believe might be suspicious, just in case
A good landlord will notify tenants of the differences between normal wear and tear and damage because most tenants won’t bother to read their lease. This is one reason why there is so much confusion. The main takeaway here is to take care of your apartment home.
What to Do Before You Move-Out
Schedule a walk-through with the management team. They can give you an idea of what damage they see. This may give you time to attempt the repairs on your own if you so desire, but just because there isn’t damage doesn’t mean that you should expect all of your deposit money back.
Some leases forbid that you leave any trash behind. This means the apartment unit should appear just like you probably found it. If you left a bag of trash in the bathroom dont be surprised if you are assessed a fee. You might even hire a cleaning service to give the rental a thorough cleaning. Cleaning fees are commonly assessed; you might even go so far as showing the manager the bill you paid for the service.
When to Expect your Deposit to Be Returned
When you can expect your check will depend on the state you’re living in, but a good landlord should send your check-in a week or two depending on how long it takes for the inspection. We will cover the state of Texas rules because it is a huge state with lots of renters who live in Austin, Dallas, and Houston.
Here are some of the key points
bull; the landlord must refund the security deposit within or on the 30th day after the tenant surrenders the apartment home
bull; the landlord cannot keep the deposit or apply it to normal wear and tear
bull; the landlord can use the deposit for unpaid rent
bull; the landlord doesn’t have to return the security deposit until you provide a forwarding address.
Keep your place free of damage and abuse. Schedule a walk-through before you take possession of the apartment and before you leave. Make sure you leave a forwarding address. Then you can expect your full deposit to be returned.
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