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Protect Your Security Deposit

Renting in Memphis means you have to put down a security deposit when you move in. Depending on your living habits and your landlord, you may not get all of your deposit back! Luckily, we have a few tips to help you protect your financial deposit and live worry-free for the remainder of your lease. Read on to learn more!

Document your rental at move in. Take photos and/or videos before you start unpacking to show the state of the home as you moved in. In a world where disputes are dragged out due to he said/she said, photo and video evidence can clear up problems quickly. Email the files to your landlord on the same day, so that you both have digital, time-stamped documentation of the condition of the property at move-in. If the video files are too large to email, send it to your landlord via Dropbox or upload it to YouTube as a private video. Your landlord will be appreciative that you are cautious and aware of the state of the property.

Give plenty of notice (written) when you intend to vacate. Your lease might specify the amount of notice you need to give your landlord before you move out — for example, 30 days or 60 days.  If your lease doesn’t specify anything, ask your landlord how much notice you’ll need to give. The reason that landlords keep this provision in place is so that they have enough time to conduct showings of your unit. Vacancy is one of the biggest expenses that drain a landlord’s wallet.

Don’t hinder showings to new potential tenants. Don’t insist that you must be home during every showing, forcing your landlord and the potential new tenant to work around your erratic schedule. Don’t change the locks. Don’t leave your house as a giant mess. The more you make your landlord’s job easier, and reduce the costs (including vacancy) that come out of her pocket, the more likely you’ll be to get your deposit back.

If you paint, paint it back. Did you hang artwork and other items on the wall? Take a trip to the local hardware store to pick up some spackle with which to patch those drywall holes, then paint over them to match the rest of the wall. The less work you leave for your landlord post-move out, the better.

Get the carpets cleaned. When it comes to carpets, an ounce of prevention can equal several hundred dollars in cure. Vacuum your carpets regularly while you’re living there. Make a practice of walking indoors without shoes, which can extend the life of the carpets. While you’re at the hardware store, rent a stream cleaner. Deep-clean your carpets before you move out.