Many of my clients are currently renting Windsor Ontario homes. In their house search they will discuss the pros and cons of renting, but the biggest disappointment can be landlords who refuse to return security deposits. Of course, some property owners may have excellent reasons for keeping the money, but for many renters, they are devastated when they learn they won’t receive anything back despite normal wear and tear.
I recently talked to some landlords and here are some of the best tips they passed along to me to avoid losing more money than necessary with your security deposit.
1. Take photos and/or video the day you move in.
Before you move in, you want to have visual proof of the condition of the home or apartment. Take photos of every room, under sinks, the condition of appliances, flooring, window treatments, etc. Don’t forget to include a time stamped documentation on the photos. Email photos to your landlord to let them know you are not only protecting yourself, but them as well.
2. Give required amount of notice when moving:
Your lease should say when your landlord needs to be informed when you plan to vacate. Normally, it’s 30 days, but EVERY lease is different depending on your rental situation. The reason for the notice is that landlords need to make time for repairs, have the property professionally cleaned and find new tenants. Get your notification in writing or ask what other type of communication is needed.
3. Allow showings:
Your landlord may want to show your apartment to prospective tenants. If possible, allow showings when necessary. Have the apartment clean and tidy. The longer an apartment is empty, your landlord will need to pay the costs, so make it as easy as possible.
Again, it should go without saying, but if you want your security deposit back, you must leave your home in good condition. Friends that own rental properties often tell unbelievable stories of the mess they discover once a tenant vacates the property and then are shocked when these same tenants demand their deposit back. Ask your landlord what must be done before you leave as it varies from property to property. Some landlords want the carpets professionally cleaned, while others will do it themselves (you may be charged). However, if you have pets and they have done some damage to the flooring, getting it cleaned should be a priority. Do nail holes need to be filled? Many landlords prefer to do themselves. Again, always confirm what you are required to do.
5. Take all belongings:
The very last thing a landlord wants to do is to walk into your home after you have left and discover trash, unwanted furniture or other personal possessions. Again, laws vary, but you may be charged rent for as long as the items remain, or at the very least, be charged with removal. This all comes out of your security deposit and they can take you to court if charges exceed that amount. Overall, take everything with you whether you want it or not. I can guarantee the landlord doesn’t want it.
6. Take pictures when you leave:
Finally, after the last box is moved out, take pictures again of every room, appliance, flooring, etc., when you leave. Again, make sure it is digitally date stamped. If a landlord comes and says that there were holes in the wall, you may very well have the proof that the damage occurred after you left. Photos and videos will be your best friend when you rent a property as it can determine to a court, if necessary, that you left the apartment in good condition.