How to Get Your Security Deposit Back From Preferred Residential

Cash reserves for real estate investmentMost leases in the state of Oregon require security deposits from the tenant when they move in to a rental.  The deposit is intended to cover damages to the property caused by the tenant beyond normal wear and tear and to protect the owner from financial loss if the tenant moves out before the lease expires or just stops paying rent altogether.

In most cases the tenant has put up more than one month’s rent in the form of security deposits to protect the owner.  What can a tenant do to increase the odds that they get all of that money back when they move out?  At Preferred Residential getting a refund of your security deposit starts when you move in.

Complete the Condition Checklist and return it to us within three days of moving in.  This form will help you document the condition of the house or unit when you take possession of it.  It goes in your file and will be referenced when you move out.  Without this form there is no reliable, documented way to prove that the tear in the bathroom flooring was already there when you moved in.  We also recommend that tenants take date stamped pictures of anything that could be called into question and submit them with the Condition Checklist.

Ask permission before you put up a satellite dish on the roof, paint a room or mount a flat panel tv on the wall.  Most anything that affects the appearance or functionality of the house in a negative way can affect how much security deposit is refunded.  Tenants are expected to return the property in the same or better condition it was received.  That means, for example, a flat panel wall mount would need to be removed and the holes in the sheet rock repaired and painted.

Call Preferred Residential when something in the house needs repaired.  A leaky toilet can cause a lot of damage the longer it goes unrepaired.  Water damage to the floor, sheetrock, and/or baseboard will become the tenant’s responsibility if the problem goes unreported.

Plan ahead.  If you are renting a property from Preferred Residential, your lease requires that we receive at least 30 days notice of your intention to move out.  If we don’t get a 30 day notice or you move out sooner than 30 days you could be on the hook for rent that you didn’t plan on paying.  Tenants should also be aware of when their lease expires.  More often than not our leases contain a Lease Buyout Fee.  A lease buyout fee can take a big bite out of the security deposit for tenants moving out before the lease has expired.

As the move-out date nears, review the Deposit Refund form signed with the lease.  We will gladly supply a copy if you can’t find one.  This form is intended to help tenants know what we expect when we do the final walk-through.

Carpet CleaningClean the house, walk away and then come back with fresh eyes to look for things that may have been missed.  Look at the house or unit as if you were moving in.  Have the carpets been professionally cleaned?  Would you be satisfied with the sticky grime that has built up on the outside of the cabinet doors?  Would you be grossed out by the food that has spilled down between the range and cabinets?  What about the soap scum build up on the shower walls or the hair and gunk in the shower door tracks?

Show up for the final walk-through.  You are welcome to be there and you should be.  We will point out anything that might have been missed or needs touched up and give you an opportunity to fix it.  If getting your deposit back is important this is a great opportunity to maximize your deposit refund.

One more note regarding security deposits:  Oregon law does not require landlords or property management companies to provide additional information when refunding tenant security deposits.  One of the things that sets us apart from many other Bend Oregon property management companies is that we do provide a final accounting of security deposits when a tenant moves out.  We think it is only fair that if a tenant doesn’t get the full refund they know why and where it went.


About Dan Seim

Dan Seim is the primary contributor to Preferred Residential's blog. He has been writing about real estate issues that affect home owners in Bend and Central Oregon since 2011.

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