ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

9 Ways to Lose Your Security Deposit

Updated on May 13, 2015
Carolyn Gibson profile image

Carolyn is the retired owner of a property management company in Boston, Ma. She is the author of "Secrets to a Successful Eviction"

Read your lease or security deposit receipt to make sure you get your security deposit back
Read your lease or security deposit receipt to make sure you get your security deposit back | Source
If you paint your apartment with a loud color, your landlord could charge you for the extra coats to re-paint
If you paint your apartment with a loud color, your landlord could charge you for the extra coats to re-paint | Source

The security deposit is money the tenant pays before they move into an apartment. All of the money is required to be held in escrow by the landlord in the event a tenant leaves the apartment in disrepair, dirty, and/or owing rent. There are tenants who believe they are entitled to the full return of their security deposit when they move out. This isn’t necessarily true in most states. Depending on how you leave the apartment, in some cases, you may lose your security deposit, and owe more money to the landlord for excessive needed repairs.

Those who do not read or understand their lease will undoubtedly be surprised if they get a letter saying they are not getting their security deposit back. It is the tenant’s responsibility to maintain the apartment in such a way that the landlord must return the deposit. This includes making or paying for damage repairs during the tenancy.

There are a myriad of reasons why a security deposit isn’t returned partially or in full. Here are nine:

1. Early Move Out or No Notice

Most states require a tenant to give a 30-day written notice to the landlord before moving out. This is true even if the tenant doesn't have a lease. If a tenant leaves the apartment before the lease is up, the landlord can keep the security deposit to cover the remainder of the lease term. The landlord may also charge a tenant for the remainder of the lease rent that is still outstanding even after applying the security deposit

2. Wear and Tear Conditions

When determining the return of the security deposit, wear and tear usage is considered. Wear and tear damage occurs as a function of normal use over time. Normal use is considered by how long one lives in an apartment. If, for example, the window shades are all torn up, or stove knobs are missing after a year, the tenant will be expected to replace them. If, however, the shades are worn, discolored or frayed, this is due to normal use over time.

Carelessness, abuse, or neglect of the apartment is not considered normal wear and tear usage. If the landlord conducts annual apartment inspections, the tenant will be charged accordingly for apartment abuse and repairs.

3. Apartment Inspection Report

Look at your original apartment inspection report that detailed the condition of your unit before you moved in. This an important document and should be kept among your important papers during your entire tenancy. When you decide to move out, the landlord or property manager will get his copy of the inspection report. He will then compare the current condition of the apartment to the original condition outlined in the original report to determine wear and tear conditions versus damages to the apartment while you lived there.

4. Replacement Items

Anything that was in the apartment when you moved in is expected to be there when you move out. If smoke detectors, oven racks and knobs, window screens, or filters are missing, your security deposit will be used to replace them. It would be in your best interest to replace missing parts in the apartment on your own during your tenancy so the cost will not be taken from your security deposit when you leave.

5. Repairs and Extra Cleaning

If you damaged the apartment during your occupancy, such as holes in window screens, the cost of fixing the damages will be deducted from your security deposit. Any extra cleaning needed, such as dog feces left on the floor, an excessively dirty oven or bathtub, will be deducted.

6. Painting

If you repainted your apartment or some rooms without the landlord’s permission, the landlord may deduct the cost of repainting from your security deposit. Especially if the rooms need two coats of paint due to the extreme color used.

7. Unpaid Rent

If you owe rent when you move out, the unpaid rent amount will be de-ducted from your security deposit. That includes any unpaid rent increase that was in place before you left.

8. Move Out Apartment Inspection

The landlord is required to conduct a move-out inspection and give you a copy to substantiate any security deposit deductions. Protect yourself by asking to be with the landlord or property manager during that inspection.

9. Keys

The apartment and entry door keys are the property of the landlord. If you do not return all of the keys to the apartment, expect the owner to deduct the cost of either replacement keys or a new lock from your deposit.

Summary

Your landlord or property manager is obligated to give you a written report of what was done with your security deposit, along with a check for the balance within 30 days of your move out.

If you believe that you are still owed some or all of your security deposit, your recourse is to take the owner to Small Claims Court. The burden of proof is yours. This would include any unpaid interest due from the deposit. You are advised to check the laws in your state on security deposit and interest due before you move out of your apartment.

In small claims court, if you sue for the return of your deposit, pictures are strong evidence of how you left the apartment. Remember to take a picture of the inside of the stove, the toilet, and the inside of all the cabinets.

The landlord doesn’t expect perfection when a tenant moves out. He expects to see that the tenant respected the apartment to the degree that all he will have to do is clean and paint the unit, and make minor repairs. A tenant can avoid losing the security deposit by taking care of the apartment, and maintaining it to its highest and best use.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)