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8 Ways to Help Your Renters Get Their Security Deposit Back

Over the years landlords have had to deal with the poor reputation brought on by a few bad eggs, and while there are certainly seedy landlords who’s practices are questionable--at best--the majority of landlords and managers truly do want to be fair to their renters and even help them.


Assisting your renters with getting their security deposit back is one way to establish yourself as a good landlord ( on who is likely to get some great referrals even after your tenants leave) but it is also a great way to protect your investment and prevent damage to your property.


After all, you WANT your tenants to get their security deposit back because that means they were respectful of the property during their tenancy and didn’t cause damages that you need to address.


So, how can you help your renters help themselves in this respect? These 8 tips will ensure your renters know exactly how to get their chunk of change back when their lease terms, and will ensure that your rental property looks its best when they leave.



  1. Screen your potential tenants carefully. Thorough tenant screening (including a background check) can help you avoid irresponsible tenants. This alone can significantly lessen your chances of dealing with security deposit issues and disputes.


  1. Read the rental agreement with your tenants before they sign. This way, they fully are aware of their responsibilities towards the property. Be sure to ask if they have any questions, and take a moment to highlight any particularly important responsibilities they will have as tenants.


  1. Explain the laws for security deposits in your state. Tell your tenants what you are required to do with the deposit and what you can legally deduct for when they leave. Directing your renters-to-be to your local laws will ensure that you both know what is legal when the lease term is up, and your renters will be less likely to argue if deductions must be made.


  1. Perform a move-in inspection and require your tenants to do their own. You can even suggest that they take photos of any damage they come across. This ensures that one of you has documentation of every problem area within the space before the move-in date has arrived and no one can say that additional damage was “there before.”


  1. Supply a renter maintenance checklist to your tenants. This guarantees that they know exactly what they are responsible for keeping clean and maintain. Laminating this checklist and suggesting your tenants placing it a high-visibility area (like on the refrigerator) can remind them to change the filter and complete other tasks that may be otherwise forgotten.


  1. Keep documentation for repairs or tenant maintenance reports made during the lease term. This will let you know what damages can or cannot be classified as tenant neglect. For instance, water damage under the kitchen sink would not be due to tenant neglect if your renters have consistently been reporting a leaky sink to your maintenance team.


  1. Perform a semiannual inspection. Performing an inspection after 6 months can help you take care of property issues that need to be addressed promptly and can give you the opportunity to offer your renters helpful tips for maintenance. This could change how they care for the unit, affecting both their deposit return and your property value.


  1. Conduct a move-out inspection before your tenants turn in the keys. This allows you to point out any trouble areas that you expect them to repair or clean more thoroughly in order to get the maximum security deposit return they can. This allows your tenant the ability to address any issues, offers you a higher chance of the property being returned to a move-in ready condition, and decreases the chances that your renters will complain about deductions they knew would occur.


You will likely be faced with the need to deduct from security deposits at times, but by taking steps to prevent tenant damage, educating your tenants fully, and performing regular inspections, you can mitigate the need to deduct from security deposits. This means a lot less hassle for you and a lot more happy former tenants.


1 comment
  • Aaron  Robertson
    Aaron Robertson What a great post. We have written a similar post that folks might find some additional tip on. It can be found at:
    July 2, 2017 - 1 likes this
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