It does not matter if you live in a home or an apartment, if you are a renter, you come across the dreaded security deposit. A security deposit is a sum of money you pay up-front after signing your lease.
The funds from this deposit are held as collateral in the event your apartment is damaged beyond normal wear and tear.
It seems straightforward but legal rules and regulations surround this process. You would be surprised to learn about how many people are unaware that they can take their security deposit back if all rules are followed.
Save money on your security deposit by using these helpful tricks. Whatever price is upfront it may be possible to wiggle the price down by talking to your landlord. Below are tips and tricks to explain security deposits and maximize your savings.
What is a Security Deposit?
All renters are expected to uphold certain responsibilities upon signing the lease on a home or apartment. A security deposit is the first responsibility you are expected to pay. The security deposit allows your landlord to have collateral on hand for a few separate situations.
The first situation where a security deposit is drawn from is if you damage your apartment heavily. The second is if you cannot pay rent on time and finally a security deposit is drawn upon if you break your lease and leave early. Note that the security deposit is not figured into any utility bills, monthly rent, administrative fees, or monthly rent.
The security deposit is not the same for all apartments. Depending on your landlord, the amount for the security deposit changes. On average, the security deposit is one to two times your monthly agreed rent.
By law, the security deposit cannot be more than twice your rent. Rent is not cheap, and this equates to a lot of money to pay up front alongside the first month’s rent. Some tips and tricks exist to help ensure you get as much of your deposit back as possible when you are ready to move out.
Best Tips for Maximum Security Deposit Savings
Even though paying the security deposit at the beginning is painful, implement tips to try and lower the costs. The first tips is to stick to your budget. It is difficult to stick to a budget but if you approach it from a realistic point of view, it gets easier.
If you sit down and generate a list of what your reoccurring costs are per month, it becomes easier to find what extraneous purchases to trim away. For example, if you buy coffee every day, this cost begins to add up.
If you purchase a bag of coffee, it is more expensive up front than a single cup of coffee, but you make it stretch and spend less money over time. Additionally, take a look at other costs like movies, video games, or old subscriptions to cancel.
The second tip is to set up a separate savings area for the money going to your security deposit. The money you are making from budgeting needs to be separate from your every day accounts.
As you begin to accumulate more money, take a small percentage of your paycheck each month, you can stash it away without worry of accidentally using it. This is good practice for stashing away savings in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Finally, when it comes time to talk about your security deposit, speak with your landlord. It may be uncomfortable to try and haggle a price but give it a try. If you cannot afford the current security deposit, try and talk with the landlord. In many cases, approach the situation logically and try to compromise.
If a landlord knows you are interested and dedicated to living at his or her complex, it goes a long way. Do not try and tell them you are looking at another space with a better security deposit as the landlord feels pressured and this ruins your relationship immediately. If you are truly trying to compromise and have a good rental history and credit score, most times a landlord is willing to work with you.
What to Avoid to Keep a Low Deposit
Once the security deposit details have been ironed out, you pay your agreed amount and move in. This is where many renters fall-prey to mistakes and are unable to reclaim their security deposit, though.
You must be careful with your new living space, especially when you are moving in. Thoroughly read through your lease agreement to understand what the rules of your rental space are. Each landlord sets specific rules for the property.
If you are unaware and break these rules, not only can you go through your deposit quickly, but you end up paying more money to the landlord. It is advised to be informed and follow the rules while having good renter’s insurance. These two things alone keep your security deposit as in-tact as possible.
How to Get Your Security Deposit Back
When the lease comes to an end and you are not renewing the lease, it is time to get back the security deposit. If you have followed all rules and incurred no damages, you are looking at a significant amount of money back.
It may be enough to pay the security deposit at your new rental apartment or home. Sometimes it is difficult to get your deposit back. Try a few tips to make the process of obtaining your deposit easy and efficient.
Always ensure your landlord is reputable online and read your lease specifically for rules about the security deposit. Document every possible state of your apartment from the time you move into the apartment right to the end of your lease. Include pictures with the time stamp to provide evidence against false claims.
Always keep your apartment as clean as possible and only make changes like paint or renovations if you are allowed. Always be aware of your rights as a renter, including the right to understand why you are being denied your security deposit. If you follow the rules being set forth and know your rights as a renter, you get your security deposit back easily.