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Get Your Deposit Back: 5 Tips For Moving Out

Image showing a tenant getting her full deposit back after moving out.

If you are moving out of a rental property and looking to get your deposit back, this article is for you!

 

Assuming you’ve already notified your landlord and are leaving on your stipulated lease termination day, the 7 days prior to leaving are critical to getting your deposit back.

 

By planning ahead, you can get a jumpstart on battling a nit-picky landlord to make sure you get every penny back.

 

Repair Floors, Walls and Fixtures Prior To Moving Out

Hands down, fixing cosmetic items is going to be your biggest target during the last few days prior to moving out.

 

Pro Tip: Don’t set up the move out clean until you are 100% done with all of the small repairs.

 

For small drywall repairs, you can go mega-cheap and use white toothpaste. This is great for holes smaller than ¼ inch. Make sure once you squirt that hole, you use a slightly damp sponge or even a playing card to get rid of the excess so it looks nice and clean. Bonus points for matching the color of the paint with the toothpaste!

 

Speaking of paint, if you have a lot of holes you’ve patched or scuffs from kids or pets, it’s a good idea to pick up a can of paint. Make sure it matches by slicing a very thin piece of drywall off with a steak knife but make sure not to cut too deep! Here’s a great Youtube tutorial.

 

Make sure you also check for any damaged light switch and outlet covers and replace them. They are super cheap in the hardware store and you never know what your landlord might charge.

If you’ve got scuffed wood floors, another cheap hack you can try is using a raw almond or walnut. You’ll want to rub the “meat” of the nut like an eraser and you’re likely to see the cracks fading away.

For laminate floors that are made to look like wood, we recommend the Rejuvenate brand of markers. Because even if the panel is cheap to replace completely, you never know what your landlord might do to keep you from getting your rental deposit back!

 

Pets

If you have pets, you may have some work to do to get your rental deposit back, especially if you didnt tell your landlord you had them in the first place 🙂 


If you have a backyard, make sure to patch any spots in the grass or holes in the ground. Use one of the hacks above to repair any scratches in your flooring, and if you’ve got baseboards that have been damaged by your pets, find some matching paint and patch those spots up too.

 

Another telltale sign of pet ownership and one that may prevent you from getting your rental deposit back after moving out is odors. Specifically the odors left from pets like dogs, cats, birds and even reptiles.

 

The best way to get that smell out is either a one time deep clean a few weeks prior to moving out or stocking up on enzymatic cleaners designed to break down pet urine and remove odors. Baking soda and vinegar are also great to have on hand and use liberally when trying to get your rental deposit back after moving.

 

Stains

Carpet stains are the biggest deterrent for getting 100% of your rental deposit back, and the first tip you want to make sure to follow is to identify what the stain is from. Then you’ll want to hop on Amazon or go visit your favorite hardware store and pick up the right cleaning supply.

Remember, what works for pet stains may not work for food stains. And what works for stains on carpets will not work as well for stains on hard surfaces.

 

If your local house cleaning company is worth their salt, they’ll get out any stains on the countertops, in the showers, inside and outside of the cabinets, and inside the appliances. However, its very possible that even the deepest, most professional move out cleaning will not include carpet stains so be prepared to have to either rent a steamer (and load up on stain removal supplies like Resolve’s Professional Strength Carpet Cleaner) or hire a carpet cleaning company to get out those stains.


Regardless of how you tackle them, make sure stains are out before you hand back your keys. That will definitely be something your landlord will be looking for and try to ding you by withholding your rental deposit. 

 

24 Hours Before You Move

You’ll want to get everything out of your property in order to get you full rental deposit back, otherwise the landlord’s likely to try and charge you for hauling junk or disposing of any items that were left.

Check all the drawers, closets and cabinets to make sure that the property is completely empty. 

 

Hire a Professional For Your Move Out Clean

Organizing a professional move out clean the day before you move can be stressful, so it’s a good idea to book them at least one week in advance.

Try to make sure to set up the move out clean on the very last day you will be there and then try to stay out of the property as much as possible in order to get your full rental deposit back. 

 

Make sure to check the complete list of services before hiring a professional cleaning service to insure it aligns with your landlords expectations. This normally includes inside the cabinets and drawers, inside the fridge and oven as well as all of the other areas normally covered in a deep cleaning. Clean windows are usually a requirement for getting your full rental deposit back, but it’s a good idea to check with your landlord just in case they are expecting those to be cleaned as well.

 

Conclusion

By following these 5 tips, you should be able to get your full rental deposit back! Just try to start early and re-read your lease to make sure you are meeting all of your obligations.

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