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What can I do to make sure I get my security deposit back?

You can make it more likely that your landlord will return your security deposit by doing the following:

  1. When you know you are moving, set up a time for your landlord to walk through the unit with you.
  2. Remove all your belongings and furniture from the unit. Don’t leave things “for the next tenant.”
  3. Clean the apartment or house, including the sink, stove, tub, and refrigerator. Take out the trash.
  4. Take photographs of each room after you have moved everything and cleaned, so you can show the condition you left it in.
  5. Do the walk through with your landlord. Discuss any concerns either of you have about how you are leaving the unit.
  6. If possible, return the keys to your landlord at that time. Get a receipt for the keys if you can.
  7. Give the landlord your forwarding address. If you do a walk-through with your landlord, give your forwarding address then. If not, send your landlord a letter, with your new address, the address of the property you rented, and the amount of the deposit. Keep a copy for your records. If you mail the letter, send it by certified mail or with proof of mailing from the post office.

Your landlord has thirty days after you give the forwarding address to return the deposit, with a written explanation of any deductions made. If your landlord withholds the whole deposit, the landlord must send you an itemized list of deductions that equal or exceed your deposit.

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