No matter if you’re renting an apartment, duplex, trailer, or home, there’s usually one thing you have to fork over before you move in: the security deposit. The security deposit ensures that the owner of the property is compensated should you cause any damage while living there. If your home is unscathed once you move out, you should receive a portion, if not all, of your security deposit back. Security deposits can be quite hefty, so wouldn’t it nice to get it back once you move out? This guide can help you do just that.
Before Moving In
There are a few things you can do before moving into your home that can help you get your security deposit back. First, it’s important to notify your landlord of any serious issues or damages your home may already have, especially issues with your plumbing system, HVAC system, or roof. This way, these can be handled right away and they won’t be something you’ll have to worry about down the line after you move in. Also, it’s a good idea to take pictures of your home before you move in. So if there are already chips in the paint or scuffs on the floor, you have it documented and won’t have to pay for it after you leave.
Protecting Your Rental Home From Life’s Mishaps
While property managers don’t expect you to be robots who never make mistakes or have accidents while living in their homes, they do hope the home is well taken care of. Since we’re only human, this can be hard to do, especially with kids or pets. Here are a few things you can do should an accident occur.
Whether you spill a glass of wine on white carpet or your pet has an accident, there are many ways you can get the stain out.
- Removing Wine and Juice Stains– These kinds of stains are consider water soluble stains and can be cleaned by mixing ammonia and one cup of water and applying it to the carpet. This works on all kinds of carpet materials except for wool and wool blend.
- Handling Pet Accidents– Urine can be removed using white vinegar and water. After soaking up the mess with a towel, you can apply the vinegar-water solution. Once that is done, apply a solution of mild, non-bleach detergent mixed with 32 ounces of water and that should do the trick.
- Nail Polish– This one is tricky. Many people opt to pour nail polish remover directly on the stain, but that is something you don’t want to do since it can bleach your carpet. While nail polish remover can get the stain out, your best bet is to damp a rag with it and blot to avoid bleaching.
- Gum– Gum can be a pain to remove since it is so sticky. First, you want to ice it until it is hard. Once it’s hard, shatter it with a hard object, like a spoon. Before the gum softens again, vacuum it up.
Accidents happen, but with these techniques, your carpets will be as good as new when you move out.
Scuffs, Chips, and Scratches
Virtually every part of your home is prone to scuffs, chips, and scratches, whether it’s the paint on your walls or your wood floors. Here’s how you can fix them:
- Paint– If your paint was damaged from nails, you can sand it and use caulk to fill the hole.
- Wood Floors– To clean scuffs and scratches on wooden floors, first use a soft cloth and hardwood cleaner to clean the area. Once you’ve done this, wipe the area with another cloth and water until the mark is gone. To protect your wood, finish off with a sealant or protective gloss.
- Tile– If you have minor scratches on your tile, wiping brass cleaner with a lint-free cloth can do the trick. If the tile was damaged and can’t be buffed, it should be replaced.
- Granite Countertops– If your rental home has granite countertops, you can fix scratches with polishing paste and steel wool. If the counter is chipped, it can be fixed with granite epoxy resin and a razor blade. If it’s badly chipped, it may be in your best interest to hire professional help.
Alternatives to Nails and Screws
Nails and screws can badly damage your walls and paint. Some alternatives you can use to hang up paintings, pictures, and cork boards include:
- Picture Hanging Strips
- Monkey or Hurricane Hooks
- Poster Putty
- Picture Rail Hooks
If you’re looking to hang shelves or something heavy, don’t risk it. Go ahead and use nails and screws. You don’t want to risk the items falling from the wall and potentially damaging the wall or the floor.
Handling Pet Mishaps
If the property manager of your rental home allows pets, you may have to handle pet mishaps every now and then. This can include carpet stains, scratched floors, and holes in your backyard. If your dog likes to dig holes, it’s best to fill them and keep them from digging more right away since it can damage your lawn or garden.
If your pets have specific spots in the carpet they tend to go on, try covering the area with tin foil or a plastic covering to ward them off. Pets are awesome, but sometimes they do things that get under our skin. Luckily, these tips can help to protect your rental home from pet damage.
Plumbing, HVAC, and Roofing Troubles
Your best bet for handling problems with your plumbing system, roof, or HVAC is to let the pros handle it. Oftentimes, when people attempt to handle these problems on their own, they only make things worse. Professional plumbers, roofers, and HVAC technicians are specifically trained to handle these kinds of problems and will be able to help you should a problem arise.
On Moving Day
When the day comes that you decide to move out, there are a few things you can do to ensure your home is in tip-top shape. A few of these things include:
- Cleaning your house before leaving, especially the kitchen and the living room.
- Using ice to get rid of the creases in your carpet. To do this, place ice cubes over the creases and wait for them to melt. Once they have, smooth out the creases with a spoon.
- Take photos of the house once you’ve moved out. This way you have documented proof of how the house looked when you left.
- If there are any issues that the owner is responsible for taking care of (roofing, etc.), be sure to notify them as well.
Your Home Sweet Rental Home
Taking care of your rental home is the best way to get your security deposit back. Not only that, you and your property manager won’t have to worry about having to make hefty repairs once you move out. These tips can help you make your rental home your home sweet home and keep it that way!