How to Get Your Security Deposit Back (And Other Things You Should Do When Moving In and Moving Out)

medium_3290560161As a new year approaches, some of our tenant’s leases will be up and will be moving on, and others will be moving in!

One of the most common questions we hear is “How do I get my Security Deposit back?”

Whether your lease is up next month or next year, there are steps you can take to help ensure that you get your deposit back in full.

1. Document EVERYTHING When You Move In and Move Out.

We cannot stress how important it is to document the condition of your rental when moving in and moving out.  WE WILL NOT BE OFFENDED if you photograph or videotape and bring to our attention any issues that are going on inside the house either before moving in or during your lease period.

In fact, we much prefer for our tenants to be proactive and take steps to ensure we are on the same page!

  • We recommend taking 15 minutes to walk from room to room to photograph and make note of anything that is cause for concern right after you get your keys.  If you have the option of dating the photos digitally, it doesn’t hurt!  You can include these images with any move-in paperwork, but at least notate that you took them and keep them for your own reference. 
  • We give our tenants two full weeks from the time they move in to notify us of any issues with the rental. We can decide together whether it is something that needs to be fixed or just noted on the agreement so that you are not responsible.
  • If anything breaks, “goes bad” or happens to the rental while you’re living there, fully document it for your own records.
  • At the end of the lease, do another walk-through and document your cleaning and repair work.  We will discuss problem areas and give the renter the opportunity to correct any issues, or quote a price for a third party to do so. We can tell you approximately how long we think it will take, and work with you to find the best solution for everyone. 
  • We highly recommend scheduling this walk through a week in advance of the end of the lease to ensure a time that works best for your schedule.
Document everything.

2. Engage in Open Communication

We understand that problems arise, and it is better to be on the same page from beginning to end.  We want to develop a mutual understanding with our tenants and clearly communicate what of they are responsible for in the lessee/lessor relationship

  • We encourage you to ask questions or disclose any concerns you are having about your rental to our staff right away.  You can do this by calling (541) 485-7776 to speak with a staff member Monday – Friday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. You can also come to our Ferry Street office to meet with one of our staff in person (though we advise calling first). Address: 1301 Ferry St. Eugene, OR 97401
  • If you are having an After Hours Emergency please call (541) 686-0743. Obviously please call 911 if this is a medical emergency or if the local authorities need to get involved.
  • Know your renter’s rights and the housing laws! Click here to see Landlord and Tenant laws in Oregon. Bookmark this site in your browser in case you ever need it for reference! Knowing and understand your rights as a tenant here (or anywhere) can make a huge difference!
  • If you have been charged you for something that you think is unfair, request more information. Remember, landlords are not out to “get” you. 
  • Provide accurate forwarding address information. This may seem basic,  but you would be surprised how many tenants neglect to leave us a forwarding address which makes it difficult to send your deposit back in a timely manner.
  • Talk to our staff to make sure you understand clearly what is expected of our tenants when they move out. 

3. Keep it Clean


Make sure you understand what kind of condition we expect the rental to be in when moving out so you don’t end up under-cleaning or over-cleaning.  It doesn’t hurt to make it a goal to leave the rental in better condition than when you moved in.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you will need to clean thoroughly and fix any damage you, your guests, or pets have caused.

  • When you leave, return all keys and remove everything, including garbage, food, and cleaning supplies.
  • Clean or repair dirty or broken light fixtures, dirty window tracks, and broken towel bars (there are some of the most frequent issues that we come across).
  • Do not wait until the last minute to fix everything that may be broken in the rental.  
  • If you wish to hire an outside company to help, the typical rate for cleaning from our cleaners is around $30/hour.

Ultimately, we want our renters to be happy with their home. If you feel that you are not being treated fairly, or that the rental is not up to par, we want to know about it. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.

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photo credit: TranceMist via photopin cc

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