Renting property has some great benefits to owning. One of those benefits is affordability. While you may not be financially or emotionally ready to buy your own property, renting someone else’s can get expensive if you’re not careful. In Arizona, most of the laws surrounding landlords and tenants weigh in favor of the landlord. When it comes to security deposits, you and only you are responsible for ensuring you get your money back when you move out. Currently the law states that the landlord may return any portion of the security deposit and any repairs or work needed to restore the property can lawfully be deducted from that- as he or she sees fit. This means that if the landlord says it cost him 500.00 to repair some tiles in the kitchen that you damaged, and you claim those tiles were damaged when you moved in, it’s his word against yours, and guess what? You lose.
Get Your Security Deposit Back!
There are ways to prevent any unfair situations like this one however. Diligence upon your move in to a rental property can be a saving grace at move out. Prior to moving in, a walkthru of the premises should be done. This can be done with or without the landlord, however obtaining their checklist is a good idea. This way you know what to look for and what they will be looking for. At the same time you should also request the move-out checklist if it differs from the move-in one. Having both and knowing what they are looking for will already put you one step ahead. Document everything you can on that sheet and carefully inspect each and every item. Make notes if possible describing the current condition especially if the current condition is not 100%. For areas where there is existing damage or something you could potentially be charged for at move-out, take a picture of it. Take multiple pictures of it to ensure you get every possible angle of the pre-existing damage. Provide these images along with your move-in inspection list when you are finished and make a copy for your records.
Note: For any considerable damage that you run across, you may want to have the landlord initial next to your notes or sign it at the bottom to ensure he is aware of this pre-existing condition. Then provide him with a copy of the signed document including images and notate the date you provided him with these materials.
Be careful when doing this and make sure you are very thorough. If you don’t document something it’s likely going to cost you later on.
Attached is a cleaning checklist I found on Scattered Squirrel that may help ensure you clean the rental thoroughly when you move out. This gives the landlord less reasons to withhold a portion of your security deposit.