It's understandable to feel nervous about the risk of losing part or all of your security deposit when you rent an apartment. That can be a substantial amount of money, and a landlord may not return it for various reasons. Before you commit to renting a place, keep in mind some strategies that will ensure you get your entire deposit back.
Only Sign a Lease if You Know You Can Comply
It may seem like a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo, but you really should read a lease before you sign it.
The landlord or property manager will probably point out factors that are particularly important, such as whether or not pets are allowed and the number of vehicles you can keep at the place. However, there may be elements of the lease that could cause trouble if you're not careful.
The lease may specify that you owe a hefty fee if you're even one day late on your rent, for example. There may be a stipulation that the lease is canceled if anyone smokes inside your apartment. You might not get evicted, but the property owner can legally raise your rent if the lease is canceled.
Make a List of Damage Before Moving In
Before you start moving in, thoroughly inspect the apartment for any damage. Write up a list of those problems and ask your landlord to sign the list. Make a copy for the landlord and keep the original. This way, you can't be held responsible for any of those issues.
Be thorough. List even the tiniest of flaws, such as a mirror with a chipped corner or a faint smell of mildew in a closet.
Treat Your Place Kindly
Keep your apartment clean so you don't have a huge job ahead of you right before you leave. Don't damage anything. If something does get broken, such as a hanging light fixture or a towel rack, consult your landlord about how to resolve the situation. If the property owner or manager replaces it after you move out, this may cost more.
Meticulously Clean Before You Move Out
The place should be spotless when you leave. That might mean renting a carpet cleaner and a floor polisher. If a child drew on a wall with a crayon, you must find a way to safely remove the artwork without damaging the paint.
Clean areas you may never think about, such as the tops of ceiling fans and behind the refrigerator. Otherwise, the property owner or manager may feel the need to hire a cleaning service to make the place as presentable as possible. Check with downtown Norfolk apartments to see what is available in your area.