9 Tips to Get your Rental Deposit Back

Now that we’re officially homeowners (& moving in a few days!), we’re packing up our rental and getting ready to live in our new home sweet home! But before we get started on making the new place cozy & warm, we need to leave our rental lookin’ good.

Blue-Gray-Bedroom-PillowsOver the past few weeks, we’ve slowly been purging, packing, and cleaning. All with hopes that we can leave this place looking as good as it did when we first moved in….to get that big rental deposit check back!

How to Get your Rental Deposit Back

Coins-Money-Blog-FinancesWe’re lucky because we’ve had a great relationship with our landlord since we moved in. So we’re hoping that if we complete the following list of items, she will be more than happy to hand that check on over #showmethemoney

What to Do Before Moving In

But before we get started on the things we’re doing as we move OUT. Here are a few tips if you’re just now moving IN to a rental…

  • Review your rental agreement: You should know how you’ll need to leave the place when you move out. If you paint, do you have to paint it back to white? Do you need to get the carpets professionally cleaned? Just be prepared.
  • Take “before” photos: Take pics of any problem areas in your rental so you can prove that you didn’t cause the damage during your lease.
  • Keep it Clean: This one is a no-brainer. Keep your place clean & well-maintained all throughout your lease, and you’ll be a lot happier when it’s time to prep for move out. That means you should alert your landlord right away if you ever have any home maintenance issues. Leak under the sink? Call your landlord.

Now onto our tips to get your rental deposit back!

Make a List

The first thing you should do is get organized! When you’re about a month from your move, make a list of everything you need to accomplish before moving day. That way you’re not freaking out the week of your move trying to get everything done. Finn & I created a shared google doc and we each put tasks on there to complete before our move. That way we’re not forgetting anything and we’re keeping our move-out as stress-free as possible.

Patch up Large Holes

If you followed my advice in the how to decorate a rental post, then you weren’t afraid to put some holes in your walls. Now it’s time to take those shelves down and patch up any large holes. Check out this post for the full tutorial. <— I promise it’s not that hard.

Fix Nail Holes & Touch Up Paint

If you nailed #2, then this one will be a no brainer. Once you take everything off your walls (perhaps 1-2 weeks before your move), fill in any nail holes using this tutorial. You’ll also want to go around your apartment with a small quart of sample paint to touch up any damaged areas. No need to completely repaint your walls. Just get any gross spots lookin’ good again. Paint makes everything look fresh & clean and your landlord will appreciate that.

Get Cleaning

The weekend before your move, you may want to take some time to give your place a good clean. Hopefully your landlord plans to hire a professional cleaner in between tenants, but you’ll still want to leave it at least “broom-clean.” This may be a good time to ask your landlord how clean they expect the apartment to be. That way you’re not wasting your time, or losing out on potential deposit money. Check out our cleaning list to keep your efforts organized.

Clean Appliances

Don’t leave outdated condiments in the fridge, and freezer-burned ice cream in the freezer, and cheesy casserole remnants in the oven. Throw stuff out, wipe it down, and get the gross away.

Don’t Forget the Garage/Storage Unit/Patio

During the rush of moving, it can be easy to forget things that are out of sight. Clear your garage, storage unit, patio space, and bike rack so you don’t forget any of your possessions.

Don’t Leave Anything Behind

If you don’t want something in your new place, then you need to make a plan to donate it or toss it. Don’t just leave it behind in your apartment. And if you live in a condo building (like us), then you’ll want to check the rules on leaving large items by the dumpster. It would stink to get fined for something like this, so just plan accordingly.

Return all Keys

This includes spare keys, garage door openers, mail keys, etc. Make a list of everything you need to return (see #1) and you’ll be good to go!

Be Prepared for your Walk Through

We scheduled our walk-through with our landlord about 3 weeks ago and we plan to walk through the entire apartment with her. If she has any issues, we will know right away, and we can fix them immediately. Plus, we’re hoping our smiling faces draws attention away from any floor scratches or wear & tear. Since we painted the apartment ourselves, we’re planning to leave her with paint samples and the paint color info.

So enough chatter, it’s time for me to get back to work prepping for our big move on Friday! Wish me luck…


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.