Contrary to popular belief, your security deposit is not automatically “lost money,” and there are things you can do to ensure that you get it back during move-out. While moving out and moving on can be both exhausting and exciting, these tips will help you do so with a few more dollars in your pocket.
1. Holes in the Wall
Just because you put up a painting or a flat screen TV does not mean that you have to leave the hole in the wall. Take care of those holes with a bit of wall putty. It is an effective fixer upper for nail holes and usually super affordable. Most putty is self adhesive, and with the proper use of a drywall knife, these improvements can be made without the aid of a professional.
2. Stains in the Carpet
If you have stains in your carpet from spilled wine at a Christmas party or dirt ingrained into the floor from a flower pot, you may want to invest in some tools for steam cleaning. A professional steam cleaning can be quite expensive; fortunately, there are tools that you can use for a completely DIY “Do-It-Yourself” steam cleaning process. A small amount of detergent mixed into hot water can be sprayed as a mist over the dirty parts of the carpet before cleaning. Be sure to vacuum before and after the steam cleaning to pick up loose dirt so it cannot re-lodge itself in the carpet after you are done.
3. Chips in the Wood
If you housed a pet that took a bite out of the door frame or chipped the wall, you may want to invest in a bit of wood filler, sander, and paint. This fixer-upper is easy enough even if you have little experience with them, but be sure to take proper safety precautions. Wearing an industrial respirator is highly recommended when sanding because of fine particles that get released in the air. Also, cover all nearby furniture with painter’s tarp and use work gloves before you begin using paint.
4. Texas Laws on Security Deposits
A landlord is required to give a tenant a written reason for keeping a security deposit if part or all of the deposit is retained in Texas. However, the landlord does not have to give the tenant a list of deductions if there is any controversy about the amount of rent that is owed when the tenant moves out. For the best chance in getting back all of your security deposit, make sure that you leave your living space as live-in ready as you possibly can, and pay all of your rent on time.