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Tips for getting your deposit back post-move

After the Move - December 2, 2019

A lot of tenants who are in the process of moving out are looking into getting their deposits back fast. Some need the money back to make a new deposit. Others are looking at a downpayment on a new house or condo they want to purchase and leave the tenant life behind. Whichever the case may be, consider hiring the professional movers Auburn MA for smooth sailing. Now, the problem with getting your deposit back post-move comes when a landlord isn’t playing by the rules. Due to the landlords stalling when returning the deposit, or not giving it back on purpose, you may have problems. Every landlord needs to follow state law when it comes to handling their tenant’s security deposits. This means they should use it only for some expenses and return it to you before a pre-determined deadline.

However, some landlords do not comply with this. Either on purpose or simply due to ignorance. Many decided to steal their tenant’s deposits, and many more don’t even know how the state law functions. Because of this, we have prepared a few tips for you when it comes to getting your deposit back post-move. Once you safely get your deposit back, you can cover some of the moving costs Massachusetts, or make it a part of a downpayment for your new, permanent home.

Plan ahead when getting your deposit back post-move

People often don’t even think about their deposit until it’s time to move out. If you pay your rent on a monthly basis, give your landlord the notice of tenancy ending early on. In most states, this is a 30-day notice. The notice of tenancy termination is among the important relocation paperwork you need to take care of, so don’t forget it. If you don’t notify the landlord on time, you can end up owing extra rent, which will, in turn, be taken out of your safety deposit. In case you are leaving in a rush, and can’t wait for your lease to end, find another tenant to rent the apartment. If you don’t, and the landlord can’t re-rent it to someone else, you will be obliged to pay until the lease ends.

a fan of fake dollar bills on fire
Do not mistake the deposit for rent, otherwise, you may lose it.

However, don’t assume you can use that money to replace the last month’s rent. Landlords typically hold on to the deposit until you completely move out. If you use these funds to pay the rent, you may cause a problem to your landlord. In this case, he may not have enough money to cover expenses such as replacing fixtures, cleaning services or repairs. This is why you need to do your due diligence and arrange everything in advance.

Know how the system works, and know what to expect

The state is setting strict guidelines on how and when the deposit is to be returned, and the landlords must abide by these rules. Failure to comply with these guidelines can cause the landlord to lose the deposit, or face a heavy fine. The law varies from state to state, however. Knowing the rules set by the state you live in is important for getting your deposit back post-move.

two people at a laptop researching getting your deposit back post-move
Look up your states law so you know what to expect from your landlord

When the landlord returns the deposit

States usually set a two to a three-week deadline for safety deposit return. When getting your deposit back post-move from the landlord, this is what you should receive:

  • Itemized statement showing how your deposit has been used toward cleaning, repairs, and back rent.
  • A list of proposed deductions before the landlord actually makes any.
  • Whatever remains of the deposit, including the interest rate.

How can the landlord use the deposit

As mentioned before, state law usually allows the landlord to use your deposit only for certain expenses. These expenses include:

  • Any unpaid rent or other fees. Unpaid utility or electricity bills, for example.
  • Damage reparation caused by you or your guests over time. This only applies to “intentional” damage, not wear and tear. Something that simply must be done over time is considered regular wear and tear. As such, the general rule is usually that you are not obligated to pay for this. For example, if a washing machine simply wore out and needs to be replaced, this is wear and tear.
  • Cleaning expenses so the property is as clean as the day you moved in.

Lastly, if your landlord does not follow up on the return, you can take getting your deposit back post-move a step further. If you are swindled out of your deposit or aren’t satisfied with the amount, you can file a lawsuit in the Small Claims Court. Surely, we hope it never comes to that. And we hope that with our help, getting your deposit back post-move will be much easier.

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