Today I’m going to give some instructions to tenants who are moving out and interested in getting back their full deposit. Although this process will vary depending on state, what your lease says, and what you have agreed to do with your landlord, there are some processes that are generally addressed and need to be taken care of at move out.
Despite popular belief, most landlords are not interested in with holding from anybodies security deposit. It’s far easier for a landlord or a Colorado Springs property management company to complete a move out inspection and return a deposit in full than it is to make repairs and with hold money as needed. I’m going to focus mostly on our lease clauses since I am familiar with them but make sure to read your lease and review your state security deposit laws!
In Colorado the state law says a security deposit disposition must be completed within 30 days of the property being vacated or the lease terminating, whichever happens last. However, this time can be extended to 60 days if the lease terms allow it and the tenant has agreed to it. Our lease is written to allow for 60 days.
At the time of move in you should have either received a written inspection which you sign off on, or you should have received a blank inspection form to be completed by you and kept for your records. You will need to refer to this information at move out and the property will need to be in comparable condition except normal wear and tear which is acceptable per Colorado law. This is a good starting point for getting your security deposit back in full! I have listed some other items that we look at when completing a move out inspection and creating a security deposit disposition/refund.
1.) The carpets must be cleaned by a professional company using truck mounted equipment. Portable carpet cleaning machines are not acceptable. A receipt must be provided from the company who did the carpet cleaning.
2.) The home will need to be thoroughly cleaned to include all appliances, behind appliances, bathrooms, window sills wiping down, etc. This is very important! Many cleaning companies do not clean behind appliances, windows, or sills, etc. Just because you paid a company does not mean they will do the job right and you are on the hook for anything that isn’t cleaned.
3.) Replace all light bulbs, batteries in smoke alarms and co detectors, the furnace filter, and any other small items.
4.) If you have a pet, make sure to pick up any feces in and around the yard, repair any damage that was caused by the pet (i.e broken fence pickets, chewed or scratched doors or trim, etc)
5.) Do NOT LEAVE TRASH AT THE CURB FOR PICKUP! This is a common mistake. When you turn in keys to your landlord you are telling them that you have completed all of your responsibilities. If there is trash at the curb it will likely be hauled at your expense.
6.) Turn in all keys, garage remotes, parking passes etc. per the terms of the lease. Our lease states everything must be turned in prior to noon on the last day of the lease. Showing up late could mean additional rent charges.
7.) Make sure the yard is mowed, trimmed and weeded. Lawn companies are not cheap and this could mean money being with held and a slower return of your deposit.
8.) Do not turn the utilities off! Instead, revert them back into the owners name or the management company (depending on what your lease states)
9.) Provide a forwarding address to your landlord so they can send the deposit to your new address once they have completed the move out process
These are a few things you can do to ensure you get your deposit returned in full. Obviously there could be additional requirements depending on your specific situation but this is a start!