Different Lease Agreements Have Different Authorizations
If you’ve never rented before, there’s something you should know: getting an apartment usually requires the first month’s rent, the last month’s rent, and a security deposit. Now. You can get that deposit back—but you’ve got to play your cards right. If you’ve rented before, you’ve been down this road. Be careful about it, and you won’t lose that deposit.
If you’re not careful about it, you’ll be on the hook for the security deposit. Damage the unit enough before you leave, and you might find yourself in small claims court. Landlords understand the average “spread” of costs related to refurbishing a unit, and that’s why they structure deposits as they do.
They will “lose out” from some renters, and others will clean up after themselves so well, all they’ve got to do is get the lease papers signed for another tenant. With that in mind, it’s not uncommon to expect a security deposit to range in cost from $500 to $2,000; or about one to two times the cost of the monthly rent.
Different deposits will have different “scope” determining what they cover. Sometimes you may get half your deposit back, or a quarter of it back, or most of it back; it will all depend on the “damages” outside “normal wear and tear” that you end up doing to your unit. Following we’ll cover a few décor tips to help you reduce such damages and regain your deposit.
Know Specific Decorative Descriptions In Your Rental Contract
Before you pay any deposit or sign on the dotted line for a given unit, know exactly what you’re getting into. Reasonable wear and tear should include a few tiny holes in the walls for things like pictures or paintings. However, it’s not always necessary for a landlord to make allotments for such minutiae. Read the fine print carefully.
It may be that holes from push-pins, nails, or other wall hangers aren’t allowed; but you might also be able to use a wall repair kit to paint over such holes such that it’s impossible to tell anything was hung from the wall. The more “cheap” your apartment is, the less stringent requirements here will likely be, and the more likely you are to get your deposit back.
That said, think about costs. If you’ve got an $800 deposit, and you get in a fight with your girlfriend or boyfriend that ends with somebody punching a hole in the wall, what’s cheaper? Is it cheaper to buy a $20 “wall hole repair kit” from Home Depot and fix it yourself, retaining your deposit, or do nothing and lose $800? Obviously, repair makes more sense.
Be Strategic About Decor—Use Removable Decorations
Sometimes the very decorations you use can help you retain your security deposit. For example, look at your carpet. If you’re in a carpeted apartment, assume you’ll spill something. Get ahead of this by buying a few $20 rugs that match your decorative scheme at Walmart. Put them where you’ve got high traffic, or where food is consumed.
Voila! You’ll never have to worry about stains, and you’ll even diminish your regular chores on vacuuming. Think similarly for your walls, mirrors, and ceilings. Certain adhesives can be used which are easy to remove but represent a solid, secure means of mounting various decorative accouterments.
For Questionable Items, Assure Written Permission
Sometimes a landlord is going to tell you that you can do something, but when you do it, and you move out, you’ll lose some or all of your deposit. Get around this by verifying what you’re allowed to do in writing, and keeping two copies. If you rent long enough, you’ll run into landlords that will tell you one thing, then lie to your face as it suits them later.
Leaning As Opposed To Hanging
Do all pictures, mirrors, posters, and paintings require that you physically attach them to the walls, or could you perhaps lean them? Say you’ve got a four-foot wardrobe that’s a foot or a foot and a half wide.
You could take a massive picture and lean it against the wall with about an inch between the bottom of the picture and the wall. It will stand up fine, and damage nothing. Consider where leaning or secondary means of mounting that require no direct attachment may be appropriate, and “lean into” such techniques.
Have Your Decorative Apartment “Cake” And Eat It, Too!
With a little research online, you can find exactly the sort of units you’re looking for in terms of allowed decorations. A great idea is to use a resource that consolidates available units into one place, such as Dallas apartments. You can call rental agencies up, and determine exactly what their leases allow on décor.
If you play your cards right, you’ll be able to find exactly the unit for what you’ve got in mind decoratively. Understand what your rental contract allows, decorate strategically when the lease arrangement won’t allow you to do specific things, get written permission where you can, and lean pictures or paintings where appropriate. These things can help you retain your security deposit when you move out.