Move In Checklist: How to Maximize Your Security Deposit Refund

Renting a new home is always exciting, but it comes with responsibilities. There are some important tasks that will not only help you settle nicely into your new space, but also put you in a better position to avoid charges against your security deposit when you eventually move out. 

With a solid move-in plan and a keen eye for detail, you can set the stage for a smooth rental experience. We’ve even created a downloadable move-in checklist!

Download Your Checklist

Right after you move in, here are 3 key tasks to complete:


1. Thoroughly Inspect Your Space: Conduct a detailed walkthrough of the apartment, with your landlord or property manager if possible. Document any existing damages, marks, or issues. For each space, document the state of the flooring, walls & ceilings, lights, cabinets, doors & appliances. Take dated photographs or videos of the apartment’s condition to serve as evidence. Consider setting reminders for yourself to reinspect your space once every 90 days.

Thoroughly Inspect your Space

2. Send Documentation To Your Property Manager: After you’ve inspected your space, send your documentation to your property manager as a courtesy. Even if nothing needs to be repaired, this documentation serves as a good reference on the “state of your rental” for your property manager. It also shows you truly care about taking good care of your space!

Make sure you understand the lease

3. Request The Deposit Deduction Policy From Your Property Manager: While this information may be contained within your lease, oftentimes it is not! Email and ask what items they typically charge tenants for at move out. This will help you understand potential charges and areas to keep an eye on in your rental. If your property manager doesn’t have a deposit deduction policy, tell them to contact Obligo’s Customer Success team to learn about best practices!

Once you’re settled in, make sure you’re staying on top of things to maximize your security deposit refund. Maintain cleanliness of the apartment, report any issues to your property manager as soon as they arise and be sure to document all communication in writing or through email (i.e. “Hey, I want to paint a wall and replace this light fixture, is this ok?”).

Remember, being a responsible and considerate tenant can greatly increase the chances of receiving your full security deposit back when it’s time to move on. A well-documented and well-cared-for living space not only protects your deposit, but also contributes to a more inviting and joyful space. Happy renting!

Looking to live deposit-free at your next rental? Learn how you can get your deposit back!


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