How To Get Your Security Deposit Back

Being a renter can be tough and getting the first months rent and a security deposit can be daunting task, especially since most of us live pay cheque to pay cheque. Like most renters you want the full amount of your security deposit back.

From a property manager perspective, we want to give back your security deposit and we are usually happy to do so. There are a few things that we will look for when it comes to giving back the full amount of your security deposit.

Before and During the Move in process

Keeping your security deposit starts before you move into the home. The moment you get your keys and do your initial property walk through you want to note any items that need repair, this not only lets the property owner and manager know what needs to repaired but it can contribute to your personal comforts. Having something in disrepair such as a furnace may be ok in the summer however in a cold Canadian winter you will be wishing that furnace was repaired at the initial walk through.

Clean the Space

Cleaning your property before moving out is a great start on getting back your security deposit back. It may vary from property to property however there is some common guidelines.

What was the condition of the property before you moved in?

Take before moving in photos and after. Compare the two. Are there stains on the floors or walls? Perhaps they need cleaning. Have you altered the property? (paint the walls, change flooring, add or remove walls etc.). When doing this be sure to have dated your pictures with written proof detailing the condition of your rental space.

If you have altered the property in anyway you may want to check to see if this was agreed upon by the property manager and landlord. Some times painting is not allowed and if you painted a room by mistake you may be required to paint it back to its original fine. Be careful because some times this comes with a penalty.


We provide a checklist for move-in and move-out inspections. Following the list is a great way to dramatically increase your chances of getting a security deposit back. Go through it and be thorough. After all a security deposit can be a large chunk of change.

Taking care of a rental property as you live in it

Once you have completed a move-in checklist you’re ready to have a place to call your own. Like everything some things may wear out. There may be leaks or severe weather. With this in mind it's important to report things to your property manager or landlord as they happen. If a faucet is leaking or a door handle jiggles more than it should, these are items that may need repair. Report it to your landlord as soon as reasonably practicable. This may not only reduce any further damage but also increase your state of mind knowing you’re living in a sound home.

Moving out of your rental space

Sometimes a living space may only last us so long and we may want to look else were or purchase a house of your own. When you’re ready to move out notify your landlord. When giving notification of your move out write them and ask, “I want to get my security deposit back. What can I do to maximize my return?” Asking this simple question lets the line of communication open up and gives notification to your property manager that you are moving out and looking elsewhere.

In the email also ask for the move-in checklist so you can compare. If none is provided ask for a cleaning list. We are really easy going and love to help. It’s that easy.

Having pets may cause some odours. It is important to do what you can to ensure that’s not the case when you’re ready to move on. Sometimes you become nose blind to these odours and may not get your full deposit back. Get a second opinion on the odours and do some extra cleaning.

Checklist before vacating

For your convenience here is a checklist to complete before vacating your property. Following this list will dramaticially increase the chances of getting your full deposit back.

  • Clean in, out, behind and under the fridge and defrost and clean the freezer
  • Leave the fridge door open if the power has been turned off
  • Clean in, out behind and under the stove and clean the oven and burners on the stove
  • Clean the dishwasher inside and out
  • Clean the hood/vent and screen
  • Clean the microwave inside and outside
  • Wash the cupboards inside and outside
  • Clean sinks and taps
  • Clean inside and outside of all windows/tracks, screens, closet doors/tracks and patio doors/tracks
  • Wash all walls, floors, baseboards, doors and stairs
  • Dust curtain rods and window coverings/blinds or replace curtains with the landlord’s
  • Dust or wash fans and vents, light fixtures, replace burnt out light bulbs
  • Check the smoke detector, replace batteries as needed
  • Clean bathroom thoroughly including the tub, tile, sink, vanity, mirror, medicine cabinet, cupboards and toilet
  • Vacuum and have all carpets steam cleaned by a professional carpet cleaning company
  • Clean the fireplace inside and outside
  • Clean the washer and dryer inside and outside
  • Clean the storage room – wash floors and walls
  • Sweep the garage floor and wash if necessary
  • Sweep the deck/patio and wash if necessary
  • Cut and trim grass, weed flower beds
  • Clear snow and ice from driveway and all sidewalks (if moving out in winter months)

Ample notice of move out date.

One of the common reasons you may not get a security deposit returned is breach of contract. Some tenants have moved out before their lease date without giving ample, or proper notice of moving out. Be sure to check your contract. When is the end date? Are you moving out too early or late? Following your contract guidelins is perhaps one of the best ways to ensure you get your deposit back.


As you can see by the list there is numerous reasons you can get dinged on your security deposit but with consideration to the check lists you can greatly increase your chances of getting it back. If you have any questions please contact us and ask for our property manager. We’d be happy to assist.

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