General Question

KatawaGrey's avatar

Do people ever get back their security deposits?

Asked by KatawaGrey (21467points) March 18th, 2009

I’m hopefully moving into an apartment next year and I got to thinking about the security deposit. Surely people who have lived in an apartment for many many years would lose the deposit because they have done something to lose it. I mean, after, say, seven years of living in the same apartment, something must have happened to merit a non-refund. So, does anyone get the security deposit back?

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16 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

Certainly…it’s against the law to keep it unless there is ABNORMAL wear & tear in the apartment.

I’m a property manager

bananafish's avatar

Sure you do! I’ve gotten mine back on each apartment and dorm room I’ve been in. They can’t dock you for standard wear-&-tear: Carpet compression, smudges on the wall, creaky doors, etc.

What they will hold your deposit for is if your apartment needs repairs due to your neglect/abuse.

Holes in the wall
Broken refrigerator
Charred counterop
Broken door
...etc.

If you plan on leading a normal, sedate, family, responsible existence then you should fully expect to get your deposit back!

SpatzieLover's avatar

After 7yrs, I’d expect to have to carpet & paint the unit.

bananafish's avatar

@SpatzieLover – absolutely, new carpet and new paint shouldn’t be deducted from the security deposit, and never has been that I’ve ever heard.

…I mean unless you soil the carpet so badly that you damage the floorboards beneath. Ewww.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Ooohhhhh…Carpet and paint are taken out ALL the time. You wouldn’t believe how disgusting people are! And, it’s often the 1yr or less renters, not the 10yr ones.

miasmom's avatar

It is totally legal to take out carpet and paint, those are standard wear and tear items.

I’ve almost always gotten a full refund because I cleaned very well before leaving and my apartment was pretty much ready to go for the next person.

casheroo's avatar

My lease has a weird clause in it, I asked my landlord about it..she said it was just there because of horrible tenents she had in a different rental.
But, the lease states something along the lines of, if any cleaning is required, other than what the tenent does (we’re supposed to clean it thoroughly so someone can move in…) then we get charged $100. I’ve never heard of such a thing. My landlord said it’s for people who leave the place disgusting, but the lease specifically said if we leave anything behind at all, we have to pay $100. I think that’s a bit much.
We’ve been here almost two years, it definitely needs to be repainted. Everything else is in great condition. We broke a window that we still need to fix, but we’ll do that before we leave. I hope we get our deposit back!

I’m still waiting to get my $1000 deposit back from someone who I almost rented from. We won a judgement against them, and put a lien on them. We have to put a sheriff sale against their things, and hopefully we’ll get all the money back that we’ve put into it (court fees are expensive!)

dynamicduo's avatar

I have never given a security deposit in the two apartments I’ve lived in. We give an amount equal to the last month’s rent, and then when we decide to leave, that money is applied to the last month we live there.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Thanks everyone! I appreciate the answers.

@dynamicduo: I thought that last month’s rent was equivalent to the security deposit.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@dynamicduo That’s considered ILLEGAL in Wis and many other states.

aviona's avatar

I’ll have to wait and see! Hope so!

dynamicduo's avatar

Rental laws change from state to state. Here in Canada, more specifically Ontario, this is the norm.

No, they are two different things. A security deposit is essentially money that they will take from if you have damaged the rental beyond reasonable use, the presumption is that you will clean up things to get back your full deposit.

miasmom's avatar

I don’t know if this is standard or not, maybe @SpatzieLover can answer this, but one time our landlord gave us a printout of what we would get taken out of our deposit for standard wear and tear. It listed the time you stayed in the apartment and how much it would cost to repaint/recarpet at that point…just a thought.

DrBill's avatar

When you move into a rental unit, it is “move in ready”.
When you move out it should be “move in ready”.
If it is, you get your deposit back. If it is not, the landlord will use your deposit to make it “move in ready”.

I refund the deposit about 80% of the time.

EmpressPixie's avatar

I got back my entire deposit when I moved.
I’ll probably get it back this round too, because my landlady is awesome. AWESOME.

The best way to make sure you get yours back is pictures. Take about a million when you move in, so that you have the state of the place thoroughly documented. Then keep them until you move out. “Oh, you scratched the floor, it’s just awful! I have to repair it..” “Not so! See photography 7A, ‘Huge Floor Scratch’”.

Judi's avatar

In my experience as a Landlord, the people who live there the longest get the most money back. After a year I don’t charge for carpet cleaning unless there is stains. I don’t charge for painting after 2 years. The only fee that usually comes out is cleaning, and if they left the apartment pretty clean that can be minimal.
One mistake many renters make is to think that if something breaks they will have to pay for it. The advantage to living in an apartment over owning is that someone else fixes stuff for you! If you put your fist through a wall you might be responsible, or if you put all your potato peels down the garbage disposal at once with no water, you might be responsible, (If you’re a good resident you might not even get charged for that) but for the most part, anything that is ordinary ware and tear is the responsibility of the landlord.
Enjoy having maintenance service and leave your apartment clean. You can expect most of your money back. Us landlords are not all Snydley Whiplash.

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