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Simple Tips To Ensure Damage Deposits Are Returned

Christine O'Kelly
Sep 8, 2008
Property managers require a damage deposit that is often equivalent to one month's rent. An apartment rental deposit is a large sum of money you want to be sure you get back when you move out. This money is often held to cover the costs of any repairs, cleaning, or replacing that are needed to prepare the property for the next renter. Here are several hints to ensure that you get your damage deposit back.

Understand What The Apartment Rental Agreement Says

With each new apartment rental, the agreement will be different. Therefore, it is best for you to understand exactly what the contract says. Some landlords will only ask that you cover any damage you cause. When you rent an apartment from someone else, it might cover replacing lost keys, cleaning charges, and damage repair. Even if you and the property manager have only reached a verbal agreement, it is still legal in court.

Something in the apartment will inevitably self-destruct while you are living there. This makes it important for you and the landlord to know what repairs you are responsible beforehand. Most of the time, if it came with the property and broke under normal use, the property manager will be responsible to fix it. Anything that you break will be your dollar. Also, anything you have repaired without prior agreement by the landlord will also be your responsibility. This does have exceptions depending on where you live.

Make Note Of Existing Damage

When you rent an apartment, make a note and take pictures of any damaged items before you start to move in. It is also better to do this with the property manager so that you are both aware of what was there before you moved in. In the end, this might protect your damage deposit.

If the landlord or property manager is unable to do the walk-thru, make all of the documentation as accurately as you can and mail it to yourself. This way, a postal mark with the date and time will be proof of when the evidence was collected so long as the envelope remains sealed. When you move out, you want to do the same thing. You can take this to court if you have difficulty getting your damage deposit back.

Understand Regulations And Rights

The property manager will have his or her own set of rules when it comes to what you are allowed and not allowed to do in the apartment rental. This might be rules such as no pets, no smoking, or no parties. If you break these rules, your landlord can keep your damage deposit. A trip to the state's rental authority like the Attorney General's Office will help you learn the rest of the rules and regulations you need to know when you rent an apartment. They will be able to inform you of your rights as well as the rules and regulations property managers have to follow. In the end, you will know what you can do if there is a problem and what the landlord is permitted to do.

You can do many different things to protect yourself, the manager, and your damage deposit when you rent an apartment. This includes knowing what your rights are, understanding the agreement, and having proof of the property's condition. By following these few easy steps, your apartment rental will be a pleasant and easy-going experience.
About the Author
Christine O'Kelly writes for Beal Property, a company that deals with apartment rentals and other properties in and around Chicago. Beal Properties in Chicago can rent an apartment to everyone from seniors to young families.
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