How to get your deposit back
- Pay any unpaid fees and charges prior to moving out.
Contact your Owner/Agent before you move out to see if you have any overdue or past due monies owed to the property. You want to pay these in full before you move out because your deposit may not cover all these fees and you could end up owing more.
- Give proper notice to vacate per the terms of your Lease Agreement.
Your Lease Agreement will have the terms required to end your lease. Most leases require a “written notice of intent to move out.” Make sure you include your name, address and unit number and date of lease termination. Include a forwarding address for the Owner/Agent to send your deposit refund to.
- Clean the entire residence.
Contact Owner/Agent to see if they have a cleaning list to help you get your unit ready for moving out. You want to get your deposit back, so you want to ensure you are cleaning the items you will be charged for if the Owner/Agent has to hire the work to be done after you move out. If you have a garage or a storage unit, ensure you have cleaned those spaces as well. Any cleaning not done when you move out can be charged to you.
Sample Cleaning List:
Pull out appliances and clean behind, inside and outside
Wipe inside and outside of cabinets and countertops
Sweep, mop and/or vacuum all floors
Clean windows and sills
Clean vents and ceiling fans
Shampoo carpets (check with Owner/Agent before you clean the carpets to see if there are plans to replace the flooring)
4. Schedule a move out walk through.
When all your belongings are removed from the premises, the unit has been cleaned and you are ready to hand over the keys to the unit, contact the Owner/Agent to set up a move out walk through. You want to be present for this. At this time, any deficiencies that are found should be pointed out and the Owner/Agent should inform you of any charges that you will receive. These costs are likely to come out of your deposit, so it is important to ask questions.
Things to keep in mind
- Know the difference between ordinary wear and tear and tenant charges.
When you move out of a residence, understand the difference between ordinary wear and tear and what you will be charged for. Ordinary wear and tear includes things like fading, peeling or cracked paint, doors sticking from humidity, carpet faded or worn from walking, etc. Items that are not considered ordinary wear and tear and would be tenant charges are things like gaping holes in the wall or plaster, drawings, crayon markings or paint not approved by the owner, broken blinds, missing fixtures, etc. Items that are not ordinary wear and tear can be charged to you.
- Consider the additional charges for above ordinary wear and tear.
Repair costs can up add up. You might not only be charged the cost of labor to fix the above ordinary wear and tear costs, you could also be charged for the cost of materials.
When you should receive your deposit
States vary in the amount of time required for a community to return the security deposit. South Dakota requires that within two weeks after the termination of tenancy and the receipt of the tenant’s mailing address or delivery instructions, a written statement from the Owner/Agent showing the specific reason for the withholding the deposit must be furnished to the tenant. Within forty-five days after the termination of tenancy, if requested by the tenant, Owner/Agent must furnish the tenant with an itemized accounting of any portion of the deposit that was withheld.
It is of the upmost importance when a tenant moves out that you provide your forwarding address on your written notice to vacate. If you do not have a forwarding address at that time, notify the Owner/Agent as soon as it is available to you.
If you have questions about the charges you receive when you obtain a copy of your itemized statement, call the Owner/Agent and ask questions. If you believe any amounts withheld were wrongly deducted from your deposit, ask questions.
We want your experience to be a good one with us. Ask questions about your deposit before you move in, before you move out and during the move out walk through. This is your money and you want all or most of it back.
*Disclaimer: This information is provided for general informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein should be construed as legal advice of any sort and is not intended for that purpose regarding any subject matter.