Almar Property Management

7 Quick Tips to Get Your Security Deposit Back

Does anyone even give it back?

We all have friends that have told horror stories about their security deposit on their rental home not being returned due to “excessive damages”. Take five minutes to scroll the local forums or Facebook groups and I’m sure you will come across at least one post complaining about this issue. Heck, maybe it has even happened to you.

We have put together “7 Quick Tips” to help ensure that MOST or ALL of your security deposit is returned to you when you move out. Whether you rent with ALMAR Property Management, another professional company, or a private landlord. Follow these best practices to put the cash back in your pocket.

Tip 1: Clean the Entire Unit, Including All Surfaces

Sounds pretty basic, huh? If an owner or property manager has to hire a professional cleaning company to complete an easy task it can be costly.

Once you remove all of your items budget time in your moveout to completely and thoroughly clean your entire unit.

  • Dust blinds, ceiling fans, and window sills
  • Vacuum, broom sweep, and mop all floors (including basements)
  • Wipe down all surfaces and counters
  • Clean the refrigerator and freezer, interior and exterior

Making sure the home is clean for the next resident will eliminate the costs of professional cleaning services being deducted from your security deposit.

Tip 2: Reattach Smoke Alarms or Carbon Monoxide Alarms

We get it! Sometimes smoke alarms can be annoying. Especially, when it is placed near an area that may register residual smoke from cooking. Or when the battery gets low and the reminder *beep sounds every 30 seconds.

Although we never recommend removing these items, unless it is to replace the battery, we have seen it happen. IF you are guilty of throwing caution to the wind and living life the “YOLO” way – not nervous that you may be engulfed in flames in the middle of the night or become extremely ill (or WORSE) from carbon monoxide poisoning – replace these safety alarms when you exit. Again, the labor costs to call a maintenance technician to the property to resecure these are not worth your pennies.

Tip 3: Replace Light Bulbs


They were working when you arrived, they should be working AND MATCHING when you leave. Don’t make the mistake of mixing soft-white and bright-white bulbs in the same fixture. This may result in light bulb replacement costs being charged to you.

Tip 4: Maintain All Rent Payments and Additional Charges or Fees

Unpaid rent and additional, agreed-upon charges, will be deducted from your resident ledger when you end tenancy with a landlord or property manager.

It is a good idea to review your tenant portal or check with your landlord 30-45 days prior to moving out. This will help reduce any “forgotten” payments and responsibilities that you are required to pay per your lease agreement being deducted from your expected return.

Tip 5: Replace Blinds

If your property had working blinds in good condition when you moved in, it is expected that those window coverings are left in the same shape when you move out. This item is often overlooked.

Broken, bent, or cracked louvers or broken or frayed strings will typically result in a replacement being necessary and you will likely be charged for both the cost of the blinds and the labor to reinstall them. It is MUCH cheaper to measure the proper size and install them yourself before you vacate the property. Trust us.

Tip 6: Make Any Minor Repairs

That Bob Marley tapestry looked great above your headboard when we showed your apartment, no doubt! However, any nail or tack holes left behind will have to be filled and touched up before a new resident arrives.

Be sure to properly fill holes with DAP to reduce or eliminate the damages being charged. Here is a quick video! (Or, better yet, use non-abrasive and easy-to-remove 3M command strip products instead of nails)

ALSO – Although fancy LED strip lights do make a pretty sick backdrop for your TikTok and Twitch videos, they typically are not as easy to remove as the instructions state, oftentimes leaving behind residue or removing paint from the walls. Be prepared to repair any damages caused by your Amazon purchases.

Tip 7: Photograph and Video Each Room at Move Out for Visual Proof of Condition


After you have completely removed all of your personal belongings, cleaned the spaces, and repaired or replaced all necessary items document each nook, cranny, and crevice of all rooms with photographs or videos. This will help to prove the condition in which you left your residence if you are charged any itemized deductions.

If you feel that you have been incorrectly charged for damages, be sure to reach out to your landlord or property management company to provide the necessary documentation for your review. If further assistance is necessary we recommend that you contact your legal council.


Sometimes, when moving from one rental to the next, you may be mentally budgeting the security deposit return into the costs and fees of your new residence. Keep in mind, in the State of Ohio a landlord has 30 days to return your security deposit (minus deductions), so your security deposit credit should not be expected immediately.

So remember – be proactive and follow the tips above. This will help you navigate the process with confidence.

Good Luck on Your Next Adventure!

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