Tips for Deposit Refund

June 24, 2014 0 comment

Getting your full deposit back is very important for many tenants, as the deposit represents a very significant amount of money.  Your apartment must be thoroughly cleaned when you move out.  If you do not clean it, a management company will pay someone else to clean and their compensation will come out of your security deposit. A Property management company will assess the condition of your apartment by comparing it to the conditions listed on your “Move-In Inspection Sheet”. The following are suggestions that will help you obtain the maximum refund from your deposit.  Each owner and management company may be looking for different things, so maintain dialogue so that you fully understand what their expectations are.

Hand holding money

  • Floors in kitchen and bath should be mopped.
  • Dust on light fixtures, sills, shelves, etc. should be removed.
  • Aluminum sashes especially sliding window tracks should be cleaned.
  • Windows should be washed on the inside.
  • Marks on the walls should be removed including streaks around the heaters.
  • Decks should be swept and cleaned.
  • Fireplaces, if applicable, should have ashes removed and swept out.
  • All carpet and flooring throughout apartment, should be vacuumed.

Note: Draperies, blinds, and carpets will be professionally cleaned at the end of your tenancy and the costs of the cleanings are included in your non-refundable deposit. Any charges greater than your non-refundable funds due to excessive stains or damage, will be deducted from your security deposit.

  • Refrigerator should be defrosted, cleaned, and turned on low.
  • Dishwashers should be cleaned inside and out.
  • Stove should have the oven, pans, broiler grills and shelves thoroughly cleaned.
  • Area behind and under refrigerator and stove should be thoroughly cleaned.
  • Cabinets should have all paper removed and shelves thoroughly cleaned.
  • Exhaust fans should be cleaned.
  • Tub, basins showers, and toilet should be cleaned. All chrome fixtures should be polished.
  • Tile should be washed and grout cleaned of all mildew and soap residue.
  • Medicine cabinet should be cleaned, including shelves and mirror.


  • Closet should be cleaned of all materials.
  • Floors should be vacuumed and steam cleaned if necessary, removing all stains and debris.
  • All soap residue and build-up should be removed.

Be sure to remove all items, both garbage and personal from the unit and storage areas that was not there on the date you moved in.   Any items left in the unit or storage requiring hauling will be charged to your security deposit.  The cost of labor and disposal will both be charged to you and will not be cheap.  Belongings left behind will not be held or saved for you and will become property of owner of building.

When finished with your cleaning, contact your resident manager for a walk-through at which time you will fill out your “Move-Out Inspection Report”. Make sure you compare this to your “Move-In Inspection Report” so that you can go over details yourself.  Be sure to notify the utility companies (power, telephone, cable), return all keys and leave your forwarding address with the post office and the resident manager. Within fourteen days, you will receive your security deposit refund and documentation of all charges.

Be sure to receive full documentation with pictures from both your “Move-In Inspection Sheet” as well as your “Move-Out Inspection Sheet.”  This will provide you protection from any management group that is trying to keep your refundable deposit even though your apartment may look identical, if not better than when you moved inAccording to a survey, 26% of renters don’t get their security deposit back when they move, and 36% of group get no explanation from their landlord. After waiting the state-mandated amount of time without seeing all or part of your security deposit, consider writing your landlord or property managers a demand letter for return of security deposit The period of time in the state of Washington to receive your refundable deposit is within 14 days of your move out date.  This will ensure that you have a paper trail in case you decide to take them to court.  Courts will want to see proper documentation to award you damages and do not usually hold verbal accounts you may have remembered against management company.

Hopefully this checklist helps you fully clean your apartment so that you obtain your full refundable deposit back.  Make sure to maintain dialogue with your management company as they may have slightly different standards and guidelines for full refund.

Davis Property Management

At Davis Property Management, we provide fast, friendly, and professional service tailored to your individual property management needs.

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