Maximizing Your Budget
Oftentimes renters write off their rental deposit as a lost cause. Well, it may or may not be. Even if you’ve got pets, proper care of your space will see you get that money back. However, there are going to be a few things that work better than others. One of the things most likely to lose your deposit will involve how you decorate.
Granted, you want where you live to be both comfortable, and express you as an individual. Sometimes that’s going to mean changing things up. For example, some people like to sleep in a hammock, but there are no provisions for this in the apartment they rent, so they drill holes in the ceiling and hang it from there.
This is something that would likely lose you your deposit. However, if you understand what the ceiling is made of, and you carefully cut holes in the tile to put the rope up into the rafters and hook it on something secure, then put the removed portion of roof tile back as you found it, you might not lose your deposit. However, this still isn’t advisable and will likely irritate your landlord.
If you’re properly skilled in construction and architecture, you can make quite a few different changes to varying properties which require no second thought—you can simply repair the damage before you leave. If you know how to patch a hole in the wall and paint over it, you need not lose your deposit from a fit of anger that results in some structural damage.
Not Everyone Understands Construction
The problem is, most people aren’t terribly savvy in terms of construction. So you’ll want to take preventative action instead. For example, if you’ve got a cat with a cat box, put cardboard against the floor beneath the box, put a plastic garbage bag over the cardboard, another piece of cardboard atop the bag, and one more bag atop that second piece.
Put the box atop that. This will make it easy to clean up when the cat makes a mess, and provide multiple layers of protection so that feline urine doesn’t seep into the floor and permanently malign the premises.
With a cat or dog also, when you leave, you need to go over the apartment with a fine-toothed comb and clean everything extensively. Shampoo the carpets if you have to; a few hours work is worth a few hundred dollars.
In terms of décor, a few push pins aren’t going to be a big deal. But if you nail pictures to the wall, and those pictures are heavy, and pull the nails out, and you have to bang it into the wall again, that’s going to reduce the amount of money you get back. It is possible to get some of your deposit back, but not all.
Next, try not to stain the carpet. Put down rugs all over the place. Be strategic about it. Put the rugs across doorways and in front of sinks. Put them under couches and tables. A rug under the cardboard “sandwich” described for the cat box can be worthwhile as well. Plastic can be put down under the rugs too, if you really want to go all the way.
Don’t paint the walls unless you get approval to, and paint them in a way matching the motif of the apartment building you’re in. Sometimes doing a job like that can represent your rent for the month, if you’re a savvy enough salesperson and know how to sweet talk your landlord. Always be willing to barter in this way; you can save a lot of money.
Try to avoid smoking in the unit if you can. Some no smoking units can be smoked in without incident if you’re smart—though this certainly isn’t advisable. There are smoke-friendly units where you won’t lose your deposit from smoking, but you can bet they’re going to be less qualitative than those that bar smoking.
Parameter Identification And Final Notes
Also, be careful with heavy furniture. You don’t want to put any holes in the walls! The truth is, there is reasonable wear-and-tear that is incorporated into leasing agreements, and if your damage is within this definition, you’ll get your deposit back. But it will depend on those from whom you rent—there are certainly some cheap landlords out there.
So lastly, you need to know what you want before you get an apartment for the greatest likelihood of getting your deposit back. There are websites which aggregate listings and make them searchable based on your parameters—as an example, U Move Free identifies apartments in Dallas.
Deposits are expensive and rent is high. Respect these realities and you can save money, ignore them and you’ll be throwing that money away. You can get your deposit back, just don’t damage the unit, clean up carefully, fix whatever you break, and don’t make a mess.