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At the beginning of your rental agreement, you probably discussed terms of moving out with your landlord. A first important topic of discussion in many tenant/landlord relationships in that of the security deposit, what its exact purpose is, and how the tenant is able to receive it back. Essentially, the security deposit is a financial safety net granted the landlord against losses associated with property damage such as unattended fence post holes. In the course of your residency, if you cause hard-to-repair damages to counter tops, floors, walls, etc., your security deposit can be used by your landlord to help him or her take the necessary corrective efforts.

When it comes time to move out, you need to perform a "walk through" with your landlord in which it is determined if there are damages significant enough to warrant your landlord keeping the security deposit. You most likely performed a similar walk through before moving your belongings into the apartment. The first time represented your opportunity to note the condition of the rental property. It is often advised that new renters take pictures of any damages existing when they move in so they will not be charged for these things upon moving out. While there are some damages that can mean the loss of your security deposit, there are smaller matters considered everyday wear.

Wear and Tear

For a detrimental change in the apartment to be considered normal wear and tear, it must be something that you as the tenant did not directly cause. For instance, if you have noticed a wallpaper gradually fading throughout your residency, you can rest assured that you will not be penalized for this. The same goes for fading of curtains or blinds. If your furniture has made the expected impressions in the carpet, you should not be charged for this either. While you will normally be expected to present a cleaned apartment to your landlord upon the final walk through, there is no need for concern over the normal wear and tear that you cannot correct via cleaning.

Cleaning the Apartment

Some people choose to go with a professional cleaning service upon moving out, finding it easier than performing such an in-depth cleaning themselves. If you prefer the idea of having a cleaning crew tend to the apartment, just check into pricing carefully to make certain you do not spend more than it's worth to you. If you are going to clean your own rental property, keep your goal in mind: making sure you get all of your possessions out of the residence, making everything clean enough that the landlord can clearly detect any damage or the lack of damage, and leaving the place as it was when you found it. For the most part, this process will require no special tools or products, only a keen eye for detail.

Cleaning up before a final walk through should involve clearing out all of your personal possessions and removing all trash from the premises. Wherever you see stains, whether they are on a counter top or on the wall, see if you can scrub them clean. If there are instances of actual damage in your apartment, such as torn carpeting, burn marks, stains from pets, broken blinds, etc., you will obviously not be able to fix these problems by virtue of even the most thorough cleaning. Many renters try to keep an open line of communication with their landlords, reporting whenever there is an instance of damage at the time it occurs and offering to help with a solution. By doing so, some renters avoid charges at the stage of the walk through.

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