How many security deposits have you lost in your lifetime? One of our new staff members recalls at least three. Maybe that one time you found a really cozy house you loved enough to decorate; hanging all your family photos and flat screens on the walls of each room. Or back in college when you decided to transfer schools and moved out 15 days before the start of the semester. As renters, our lives can be so fast pace that things just…happen, but it doesn’t have to result in you losing all or a portion of your security deposit. If you’re even considering to move soon, follow these steps offered by Monument Management to make sure your money ends back up in your pocket where it belongs!
Step One: KNOW YOUR STUFF – Thoroughly review your lease to find what timeline the landlord has set for renewing or non-renewing your lease. At least 30-90 days’ notice is common, so know your timeline and plan ahead to avoid hundreds of dollars in avoidable fees.
Step Two: MAKE IT OFFICIAL – Give your landlord/property manager a written letter confirming your decision to move out. What to include in your letter? That you’re requesting your security deposit (in full & within 30 days of you moving out) include your new forwarding address, and even toss in city/state law to back up your request. Send a copy of this letter through the standard mail, and give the landlord a heads up that it’s coming via email if you can. The more proof, the better.
Step Three: FIX YOUR MESS – While you can’t be charged for normal wear and tear, make sure you fix any damages to the property like holes in the walls, changes in paint or wallpaper, broken windows, excessive trash/dirt etc. Once you’re done, take pictures for your records.
Step Four: SEAL THE DEAL – Return your keys and follow-up about your security deposit. Assuming you gave the landlord a forwarding address, the state of Ohio requires that the landlord return the deposit within 30 days. Interest may apply if you have stayed in the unit more than one year, or paid more than 1 months’ rent for your deposit. It’s important to remember that if your landlord decides to keep all or a portion of your deposit, they should offer you an itemized statement to account for every deduction (along with receipts). If it’s not returned to you within 30 days you can file a claim with the court, but let’s hope it never gets to this point.
These are four basic steps you can take to ensure you’ve done your part to receive your security deposit back on time and in full in the city of Cleveland. For more information regarding Ohio’s tenant-landlord law visit https://www.ohiobar.org/forpublic/resources/lawfactspamphlets/pages/lawfactspamphlet-11.aspx and be sure to visit www.monumentmgt.com for more blogs and resources for both renters and investors! Until next time…