Have you ever cleaned an apartment from top to bottom before moving out yet still didn’t receive the full amount of your security deposit? Central New Jersey landlords take many factors into consideration when determining just how much money you’ll receive. Understanding how the process works can help you avoid unpleasant surprises.
Don’t Forget About the Little Things
You may notice a deduction in your deposit if you only focus on major cleaning tasks. Although clean floors and toilets are important, you may lose money if you don’t:
- Remove dust and debris and thoroughly clean microwave, oven, dishwasher, washer, dryer and refrigerator interiors and exteriors.
- Vacuum refrigerator coils and heating vents and remove dust and cobwebs from ceilings and walls. Pull out the refrigerator and vacuum behind it.
- Dust window sills, baseboards, the tops of window and doors frames, light fixtures and ceiling fan blades. Remove bugs from light fixtures and replace worn out bulbs.
- Remove dirt and fingerprints from light switches and outlet covers.
- Vacuum and remove stains from carpeting and mop tile floors. Clean hardwood floors with appropriate cleaning products.
- Clean interiors, exteriors and tops of kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
- Scrub countertops.
- Wash mirrors and windows.
- Sweep and clean the balcony.
- Scrub bathtubs, toilets , sinks, showerheads and faucets thoroughly. Apply bleach to grout that’s stained with mold and mildew.
- Vacuum closets and clean shelves.
- Remove scuff marks from floors and walls.
Follow Your Landlord’s Instructions
Your lease may include move-out cleaning instructions, or you may have been provided with instructions when you decided not to renew your lease. Apartment communities may require you to take specific steps when you move. For example, some landlords may ask that you fill in small holes in the wall from picture hooks while others would prefer to take care of the job themselves.
Is It Damage or Normal Wear and Tear?
A certain amount of wear and tear is expected when you rent an apartment. Your carpets may look a little more worn than when you first moved in or your floor tiles may fade or develop minor cracks. Although you won’t be charged for normal wear and tear, your landlord may charge you for damage or excessive wear and tear.
You may not get your entire deposit back if you landlord notices:
- Pet stains on carpets and flooring and bite or chew marks on walls or appliances
- Large holes in walls or more than a few paint hook holes in each room
- Walls that have been repainted or have been wallpapered without permission
- Tears, holes or stain in carpeting
- Major cracks or breaks in tile floor or deep scratches or gouges in other types of flooring
- Broken windows, doors, locks, screens or window treatments
- Clogged drains or toilets
- Damage to countertops or backsplashes
- Damage to appliances or cabinets
How to Avoid a Hit to Your Security Deposit
Taking a few important steps when you move into your apartment can help you ensure that you get all of most of your security deposit back, such as:
- Promptly Returning the Property Condition Checklist When You Move In: Carefully examine every room and area of the apartment and note any damage or issues, even if they seem minor. Keep a copy for your records. If your landlord makes a deduction from your deposit for pre-existing damage, you can show him or her that the problem was noted on the checklist.
- Filming the Apartment: Taking pictures or video with your cellphone or camera offers an indisputable record of the condition of your apartment when you move in and out.
- Cleaning Regularly: When time is an issue, you may forget about cleaning ceiling floor blades or refrigerator coils. If you add these tasks to your monthly cleaning list, you’ll have much less to do when you move out of your apartment.
Are you planning a move soon? Fairway 28, a Country Classics Rental Community offers a convenient location in Bridgewater, NJ. The one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments are located just minutes from Routes 202, 22, 287 and 28. Contact us to schedule a tour or inquire about availability.
Rent.com: Apartment Cleaning Checklist for Moving Out
Forbes: Top Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back
Zillow: What’s Considered Normal Wear and Tear on Your Rental Property