Get Your Security Deposit Back

Getting Ready to Walk Through your Apartment

Getting your security deposit back is crucial, since you’ll have to put down a deposit when you move into a new apartment. If you are not careful, you could lose hundreds of dollars if you are charged for cleaning and repairs that you could easily do yourself. In order to pay just the rent on your apartment, follow these basic clean up guidelines.

What Repairs Need to be Made?

Your basic rule of thumb should be to leave the apartment the way you found it. This means repairing any damage that you did not note in the apartment checklist when you first moved in. Below are some easy repairs that you can do yourself.

If you rent an apartment in a large complex, you can find out how much some repairs will cost and then gauge whether it is worth the time and money for you to fix it yourself. Some repairs may have exorbitant charges ($10 for a light bulb!) and are easier than others to do; any major repair is probably worth letting your landlord take care of, but making common repairs will usually save you some money.

Common Apartment Repairs

Repairing Holes in your Walls

After you take down all your pictures and mirrors around your apartment, you’ll probably notice an array of holes in your walls. This is definitely a quick fix that will help you avoid charges of up to $60. Fill dry-wall holes with dry-wall filler, which you can find at your local hardware store. Simply follow the directions on the container. This is not a very labor intensive project and can be done pretty quickly.

Fixing Broken Blinds

Blinds are pretty fragile and break easily. Avoid charges replacing damaged blinds; take the measurement and color of your blinds to your local hardware store and find the replacements.

Replacing Light Bulbs

This is an easy task, but is easily overlooked if you don’t embark on other apartment repairs. If you leave burnt out bulbs in your apartment, you may end up paying government prices for light bulbs.


Before doing any touch-ups or painting, consult your landlord or lease agreement. This may already be covered in your original lease agreement.

Always talk to your landlord about any major repairs, and confirm who will be responsible. Some landlords would prefer hiring professionals to avoid any possible ‘collateral damage’.

Common Cleaning Tasks

Below, we have listed common cleaning tasks that can serve as a checklist for you as you prepare to move out of your apartment.

Some apartments require a non-refundable cleaning deposit, so you are not required to do much more than remove all your items, but if not, and then you should be sure to do a big clean before you leave.

Bedrooms and Living Room

  • Wipe down the blinds
  • Dust Baseboards and windowsills
  • Vacuum Carpets or mop hardwood floors
  • Windex mirrors and windows


  • Clean out the refrigerator by wiping down panels and drawers
  • Clean and disinfect microwave, oven and stovetop
  • Clean and disinfect countertops and sink, clean out drain
  • Wipe down the insides of drawers and cabinets
  • Mop the floor


  • Remove shower curtains and rings
  • Scrub the mildew off of the tub and shower walls
  • Clean and disinfect the toilet, sinks and countertops
  • Clean mirrors and windows

Get Your Cleaning Materials Together

Make sure you get a list of all the things you’ll need to clean a repair your apartment before you move out. You will want to save yourself the hassle of repeat trips to the hardware store to pick up additional items.

Here is a list of effective products that will help you clean your apartment quickly and effectively:

  • Mop and Bucket
  • Paper towels and Sponges
  • Windex
  • A Duster or Swiffer
  • Vacuum cleaner or dust buster
  • Kitchen Grease Cleaning powder such as Comet
  • Disinfectant such as Lysol

Below is a list of items you’ll need for making small repairs:

  • Dry Wall Repair putty
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Replacement Blinds
  • Paint and Primer: (brushes, tape and tarp)
  • Walking through your Apartment with your Landlord

Make sure that you walk through your apartment with your landlord to make sure you are in agreement to any charges that may be assessed.

When you first move into your apartment, be sure that you carefully inspect each room to make sure there are no damages that may be attributed to you during your tenancy. If necessary, take pictures of damages such as mold, chipped paint, stained rugs, faulty windowsills.

These items should be brought to the attention of your landlord at the outset of your move so that they may be repaired, but keeping these records until the end of your tenancy can help you escape unwarranted blame for damages to the apartment.

Be aware of the depreciation value of items provided in your apartment. If your landlord claims that you are responsible for replacing the carpeting, for example, be aware that carpets in apartments usually have a life expectancy of about seven years. Unless everything was brand-spanking new when you moved in, you should not be held responsible for the entire cost of new items.

Don’t be intimidated by your landlord if there is a disagreement. Do not be afraid to ask that your landlord walk through your apartment and sign an agreement that states that the apartment was left in good condition.

You want to take every possible step towards getting a full refund on your security deposit. Rents are high enough without having to fork over extra cash after you move out of your apartment.

Once you have your security deposit secured, it is time to prepare for Moving into Your New Apartment.

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