Pro-Tip Tuesday: Moving Out!

10:45 AM

When I move out of a place, I always have my fingers crossed that I will get my full security deposit back. When you rent you never know what your landlord will charge you for when you eventually move out. Here are a few tips I've relied on to get the most back from my security deposit.



Clean it up. If it's kind of icky, you should probably give it a quick clean up. I had a landlord who once charged me $40 because my subletter failed to clean out the fridge. A quick swipe with a Clorox wipe or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser usually does the trick.

Make Your Own Repairs. For around $4 you can pick up some spackling from the hardware store and easily fill all those nail and screw holes. It's cheap, quick, and easy to do; just swipe a small amount spackling over the hole with a putty knife or old ID card until smooth. For help with other minor repairs the folks at Home Depot are happy to offer some guidance.

Leave nothing behind. Depending on how large your building is, you may be charged for not breaking down your boxes or failing to properly dispose of your trash. Make boxes as compact as possible, and be sure to remove all garbage from your apartment.

Reread the fine print. Chances are the last time you read your lease was when you signed it over a year ago. Now is the time to read it over again and note any specific cleaning and moving related fees.

Document Damages. When the windows in my apartment were replaced the workers left a number of staples in the wall that I was unable to remove, I made sure to take photos of these and notify the landlord when they occurred. You can be sure I'll be reminding him of those and other documented damages when I move out.


Boston-area renters especially know how crazy landlords can be with security deposits! It's best to document everything obsessively and be reasonable with your landlord. Anyone have any landlord security horror stories or tips to share? Or have you been lucky enough to get your full deposit every time?

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