How to Get Your Full Rent Deposit Back

When you move into a new apartment or home, the leasing agent always asks for a security deposit to cover damages. So how do you get that money back when you move out? As an owner of a duplex, it isn’t always easy to give back all of the security deposit. In this article, I’ll give you some advice on how to get your security deposit back.

A few years ago, I built a new duplex. It’s a simple design with two bedrooms and one bath. I charge a moderate amount for rent but I ask for a $500 security deposit and even more if they have pets. So far, I have broken even every time a tenant moves out. A few times, I lost money on the repairs. So how is $500 spent on making the home presentable for the next tenant? It’s the little things that add up and make the deposit disappear quickly. Here’s how to prevent you from losing your deposit when you move out of your rental home.


Painting the walls and trim with a simple coat of KILZ latex paint. For around $100 or less, you can repaint a modest size home. Kilz latex paint comes in a variety of colors and it works well. Kilz latex paint covers almost any stain or smudge quickly and easily. Painting the walls with a quick coat can make dramatic changes in the way a house looks when you leave. Always remember to mask of areas you don’t want to get paint on with blue painters tape. Cover the floors with a tarp or painters drop cloth before you paint. If you get any on the carpet or tile, you will most likely lose your deposit. Asking the leasing agent before you paint can help prevent any arguments you may have over the deposit. They may not want you to paint. If they decide its ok, ensure them you will take all the precautions to prevent any damage to the carpets or tile. This simple step can prevent any aggravations or headaches in the future.

Clean the carpets

Renting a carpet cleaner from your local home improvement center or hardware store is a great start for getting your deposit back. Stay away from the carpet cleaners at the grocery store. An industrial carpet cleaner works best to get out tough stains or worn down paths. Use the proper cleaning agent that is recommended for the carpet-cleaning machine. Don’t use bleach or other harsh cleaners. These just make things worse and can really damage the carpet. Try to get a carpet cleaner with a steam brush and mechanical scrubber wand. These really clean well and the agitation does the trick to loosen dirt and debris. If you’re not sure you’re going to get it clean or you’re leery of using a machine, Stanley steamer is just a phone call away and they do charge a moderate price.

Clean, Clean, and Clean!

Cleaning the house may sound like a common sense sort of thing when you leave a rental, but you would be surprised how many times I’ve walked into the duplex and found it not clean! All the appliances should be cleaned thoroughly including the stove, oven, refrigerator, and any other appliances. Use a little bleach with water for the refrigerator. Unplug the refrigerator after you wipe it down and open the doors for 24 hours to allow it to dry. A great item I found that works little miracles on stains and other stubborn spots are magic erase pads. They come from a variety of manufactures but they are basically all the same. These are White, foam like pads that you add water to and scrub off stains. The pad disintegrates as it cleans but it can work on anything from tile and plastics to wood and trim. These cheap little cleaning pads can save you your deposit!

With a little bit of hard work and few dollars you can save your deposit from being eaten up in repairs and cleaning. Keep in contact with your leasing agent and explain what you are doing to get your deposit back. Keep all of the receipts from the cleaning products and materials you use when cleaning or repairing your rental. With these simple tips, you should be able to get your deposit back and leave your rental on good terms with the leasing agent.

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