Your first apartment usually comes with a high security deposit, partially with the understanding that you have no rental history and no credit history. But once you get it, who gives a damn. You finally got something you can call your own until you find yourself scrambling when you’re moving out and worry about the carpets and the tiny holes in the walls. Here’s how to start out on the right foot!
Complete your Inspection Checklist
Prior to moving in you should be given a checklist that will allow you to list any imperfections. Take this seriously because you will be living there and this can make the difference in getting your security deposit back. Also with the times that we’re living in it’s good to take pictures. I, like most people, accepted the checklist and stuck it in a folder; leaving it forgotten until I was moving out. Then realized what that list could have done for me. There were plenty of things that didn’t work and needed a thorough cleaning from the moment I moved in.
Take the ten or twenty minutes to go through each room. Put extra attention on your outlets! Take a phone charger and plug into each one. Also, check your door locks, and mark down all preexisting stains on the carpet and again take pictures too.
Try your best when you are cleaning to view the apartment from a new tenant’s standpoint. Sure they’ll do some more cleaning before anyone else moves in but it’s easy to put on blinders so-to-speak after you’ve lived there for a few months and even more if it’s been a year.
Top spots? Hit the oven, inside and out, and the fridge too! Many suggest you repaint to the original color; I’ve never been at a place that made their color of choice known to its tenants. This was discovered after I moved out of my first apartment when I painted, “Eggshell White” which seemed like the original color to me. Well, it wasn’t and they took that right out of my deposit. Patch any holes though from posters or frames you put up.
Request a Final Walkthrough
A final walkthrough should be available upon request, but plan ahead and be ready to accommodate your landlord or property manager’s schedule. They can also blatantly say no. However, if they will do it with you, take advantage of that and point out anything that you had brought to their attention earlier. If a drawer started to stick or a door lock stopped working and you informed their office a few months ago this would be the time to discuss that.
If your budget allows it, hire a cleaning company to do an end-of-tenancy cleaning to secure your bond. When I stayed in Auckland I used Cleaning Pro, professional and reasonable cleaning prices.
Also take advantage of the opportunity to point out what is everyday wear and tear. You might not want to argue the floors too hard, but heavy traffic areas can be explained, point out doorjambs counters and any maintenance related issues. Both of these are common areas where they hit you and you don’t even know about it.
After your final walkthrough, definitely, leave your keys with the office or directly with the landlord. Leave a forwarding address too!