Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How to Keep Your Security Deposit

Many renters get nervous when it comes to security deposits.  It’s helpful to understand why security deposits are important. We'll tell you how to take the proper steps to keep your apartment in good shape and keep your money.

Read the lease!

Not all leases are the same cookie cutter form.  Occasionally landlords will use leases that aren’t standardized.  Make sure you fully understand the sections dealing with your security deposit.  Are there automatic cleaning fees?  Go over the lease with a leasing agent or landlord and make sure what you’re signing is fair.

Know your Renter’s Rights

All it takes is a little research to be familiar with your rights as a renter in Iowa.  Check out this site for a brief summary of Iowa Rental Laws.

Do a walk-through

Most leases will come with a walk-through condition form.  Taking the time to fill it out can save you money down the road.  Take a few minutes and do a through inspection of each room.  If there are ANY imperfections make note of them.  This makes it easier for you and your landlord to sort out what damages may or may not be your fault.  If you don’t fill the form out you could easily be charged for the damages of previous tenants.  If a similar form isn’t provided make your own and mail it to your landlord with proof of delivery.  If there are questionable damages it’s a good idea to photograph the apartment and digitally date it.  This way there can be no question about the move in condition.  Don’t let this scare you, these forms are generally painless to fill out and benefit both you and your landlord.

What to look for:

All appliances functioning
Holes or dents in the walls
Chipping paint
Carpet stains
Imperfections on any fixtures - cabinets, towel racks, drawers, lights

Keep Track

If anything breaks while you’re living in the apartment document it thoroughly.  Especially if the damages aren’t your fault.  Landlords often require written requests for repairs anyway, just make sure you keep a copy.

Clean Before You Leave

Give your place a good cleaning before you leave.  If you leave it dirty your landlord will have to pay to tidy it up, this is where your security deposit goes.  So to avoid those charges keep your apartment clean on a regular basis so your not scrambling the week you move out.  Regularly clean the showers, toilets, vacuum, and dust.  You don’t have to hire a maid, just take care of your place. 

Leave a Forwarding Address

Since you're moving be sure to leave your old landlord with your new address.  They'll need to now where you live to send the check, it's pretty simple.

Ask Questions

If you find that you’ve been charged for something questionable be sure to ask about it.  In most states, Iowa included, your landlord must provide receipts and proof of cause.  This ensures that your landlord won’t be charging you for unreasonable expenses.

In the end security deposits are a good thing! If your apartment was in good move-in condition you can thank the security deposit.  It ensures that you wont move in to a trashed apartment and gives you more incentive to respect your space. If you have any questions about your lease or security deposit with Haverkamp Properties be sure to contact our offices and talk with one of our leasing agents. We're here to make it simple! 

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