Renting a house or apartment doesn’t compare to the financial investment you make when purchasing a home, but renters still have to invest at least one month’s worth of rent to ensure safekeeping of the landlord’s property. Landlords require a security deposit prior to a tenant moving in as an incentive for the tenant to keep the property in the shape it was when they were handed the keys. This is where most discrepancies happen between landlords and tenants!
Most renters are so excited to move into a new space that they forget to protect themselves and their finances. The security deposit that your landlord required you put down is used to protect their property from damages while you live there. These damages include anything outside of what’s considered “normal wear and tear,” which is damages that would naturally occur from normal usage. Disputes over property damage, and who caused them, are a leading cause of tenants breaking a lease. Defining normal wear and tear in the lease agreement is one way to avoid pleasantries between tenants and landlords. Another great way to protect yourself as a tenant when moving into a new place is a thorough walkthrough of the property prior to moving in.
Before your move in date at your new rental home you should meet with your landlord at the property to inspect it. You will want to go through each room inspecting everything floor to ceiling. Check windows, doors, floors, faucets and walls. Make sure all door handles and faucets are operating correctly and that there are no holes in walls or stains in the carpets. If you do find issues with the property, point them out to the landlord, document each item in the lease agreement and take pictures.
This will be integral in resolving disputes when you move out of the property. By having these property damages documented at move in date, you have proof that they were not caused by you and you are not financially responsible to fix them.