So, you start with $1000…
How’d you come up with that $1000? Maybe it’s a leftover savings from the endless night shifts you worked through college, or perhaps you had to beg your in-laws to lend you some Benjamins. No matter how you scraped it together that’s your $1000; and you want it back. When you pay a damage deposit it is placed in what is called an escrow account where it makes no interest and is kept until your move out date. In the state of Florida, all damage deposits must be returned within 30 days of move out. This money cannot be used to pay rent, transfer fees, utility bills, or to repair that massive hole in the wall until after you move out.
Take away $405 in fees…
$25 Lost Mailbox Key
On move in day, you signed a piece of paper confirming you were receiving two mailbox keys. You held on to one of the keys, of course, and gave the other to a neighbor last July, so she could check the box while you were on vacation. That was a great plan, but she has long moved out and you forgot to get your key back! Quit beating yourself up over it, the solution is simple. That key is copyable for under $3 at any home improvement store. Make a copy of the key, smile pretty, and turn it in with the rest of your keys and avoid the extra charge.
$200 Heavy Steam Clean
Everyone needs to be on The Landlord’s good side on move out day. If he checks the apartment and finds huge stains in the bedroom you might find yourself with a hefty charge for a heavier than usual steam clean. This one is your judgment call, ; how dirty are the carpets? Do you think getting it steamed yourself before you leave will lessen your chances of getting charged? If the answer is “yes,” you’re better off paying for it yourself. Afterall, The Landlord doesn’t give you the coupon price.
$100 Trash Out… 2 Bags $25 Each, Large Item $50
You’re not doing anyone a favor by leaving behind your dinosaur of a TV. Chances are, if you can justify leaving it behind, the new renter won’t want it. Common things left behind by renters include shower curtains, plungers, toilet bowl cleaning wands, closet hangers, toasters, and patio chairs. Just take it with you or carry it out to the dumpster…. Heck, have a yard sale! Just don’t leave it behind.
$80 Repaint Fee… Four Walls, $20 Each
That deep mauve color you picked looked great with the lighting in your room, your favorite lamp, and of course, your complexion, but chances are The Landlord won’t share the same opinion. A can of paint can cost as little as $15 and paint four walls. However, painter’s fees add up and can result in a hefty bill. Call the office and ask what brand of paint and color they used to paint your unit. Oftentimes, the leasing team might even be enthusiastic about giving you a small sample of touchup paint or maybe even a whole can of paint. Roll up your sleeves and throw a sheet over the carpet, this is a do it yourself opportunity that will definitely pay off.
And you’re left with $405 less to spend on decorating the new apartment…
To sum it up, getting back a damage deposit can be a tricky situation for any renter. Think about it this way, The Landlord already has the $1000, she’s just choosing how much of it she thinks she can justify keeping. Take proactive measures; don’t wait until you get a hefty bill to fight for your deposit. If you leave the apartment in a fair condition, The Landlord will be fair when returning your deposit. Take the above tips, tons of pictures, and leave the apartment and The Landlord’s pockets as you found them.