New York City apartments can mean some serious sticker shock. To make matters worse, you can’t leave out the large sum of money that goes towards your security deposit when you sign your lease.

For those of you that aren’t familiar, a security deposit is a fixed amount of money that a renter is required to pay the landlord up front, to cover any potential damages to an apartment.

When moving out, most renters expect to receive at least the majority of the deposit back, but not everyone will be so lucky. To make sure you end up one of the lucky renters, we’ve put together a list of tips to ensure you do your very best to get your security deposit returned in full when your lease runs out. 

Check for Existing Damage

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When you move in, or even before you sign your lease, check every nook and cranny of the apartment for previous damage. Keep an eye out for things that you could be charged for if your landlord isn’t aware of it ahead of time. This could be anything from broken fixtures to scratches.

If you find anything mysterious, make sure to take a picture of it, and share it with your landlord. Physical evidence of the existing damage will ensure that you won’t be held responsible come move-out day.

Get on the Same Page as Your Landlord

landlordPC: Austin R. 

Another step to take at the beginning is to talk to your landlord about their expectations. Ask explicitly what needs to be done on your end in order to get your full security deposit back. By getting a complete understanding ahead of time (preferably in writing), there will be no question or confusion.

Be Careful

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This is a very important part of getting your full security deposit back. Simply, treat the apartment well.

Even though it’s not yours forever, take care of it as if it was your own. Many people lose part of their security deposits for unknowingly doing things like scratching the wooden floors. Use felt sliders on the bottom of chairs, table, and couches to avoid ruining floors. That way, you won’t have money deducted from your deposit to repair or replace them.

Make Easy Repairs

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When it’s getting closer to your move-out date, look for any small repairs that you can do yourself to make the apartment look nice. Small fixes can go a long way.

Almost everyone decorates by hanging pictures on the walls. However, make sure to either hang things on the walls with adhesive strips, or be prepared to fix the holes if you use nails. Nail holes can be easily patched up with compound to cover the small marks. If you do go the nail route, you’re going to have a few more steps after just filling the hole. That takes us to our next tip.

Know Your Walls

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It’s critical that you know the colors of your walls, as you’re going to want to paint over the spot that’s damaged. The paint that you use has to match the existing color to a tee so that you don’t have to repaint the entire wall. Ask your landlord or maintenance personnel about how to get the right color before you try to do any wall repairs.

Another easy wall fix that goes a long way is the amazing magic eraser. It’s name says it, and we believe it. These fancy sponges will make any scratch or nick disappear and leave your walls squeaky clean for your landlord.

Clean, Clean, Clean

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Last, but certainly not least, cleaning! When you leave, make sure to get everything out of the apartment. You know the saying, “leave it better than how you found it?” That definitely applies if you want your whole security deposit back.

Even if you don’t want to take something with you, it’s important to remove it from the apartment so that your landlord doesn’t have to deal with its removal later on. Consider calling a cleaning service to do a deep clean of your apartment right after you move out, so you can be sure the place is looking as good as new.

Getting your money back on your security deposit doesn’t have to be an elephant in the room. If you follow these tips, and show your apartment some respect, you should have no problem getting every penny of your security deposit back from your landlord.