Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Keeping Your Security Deposit

So, it's taken you years, but you've saved up your down payment, you've searched for months and found the perfect first home, your offer was accepted and you've got a closing date set. You already have all sorts of wonderful ideas about how you're going to outfit your new house (you can put nails wherever you want! paint thinks kooky colors!! get a dog!!!), but you're going to need to watch your pennies while you settle into this new mortgage.

In other words, you really, really, really need to get your security deposit back from your landlord. And thankfully, rent.com has been talking to landlords about why more than a quarter of all renters lose their security deposits, and is offering these tips for hanging onto your money:
“It’s Better to Beg Forgiveness than Ask for Permission” Does NOT Apply Here
When renting, it is always best to get written permission from your landlord before doing any customization or renovations.
Read Your Lease
Many renters miss the specific guidelines laid out by their landlord regarding the return of their deposit. A list should be made and agreed upon regarding the conditions of the apartment at the end of the lease BEFORE you sign it.
Snap a Photo
It’s always a good idea to take some photos of the apartment when you first move in. Make sure they are time/date-stamped! Then repeat the process on move out day. This way pre-existing damage is documented and the blame cannot fall on you!
Be Reasonable and Your Landlord Might Be Too
There is no guarantee that a landlord will negotiate you breaking your lease, but maybe there is a compromise that can be met. For instance, you could help find a replacement tenant, agree to pay rent for an additional number of months or until a new tenant is found.

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