Moving can be expensive. That is why it can be extremely important to a lot of us that we get our entire damage deposit back. In between putting down a deposit for your new place, buying moving materials, renting a moving vehicle, and hiring movers, the cost can really add up! Getting your entire damage deposit can help reduce some of this cost. Want to make sure you get your damage deposit back? Read on to find out how.

When You Move In

If you just landed on this blog you are probably moving out of a rental apartment. Therefore, it may be too late for this point, but keep it in mind for your next rental. Getting your damage deposit back starts the day you move into your rental.

Upon moving in, make sure you have an appointment booked with the landlord to do a walk-through of the building. Take photos of any existing damages and thoroughly document them on your walk-through checklist. At the end of the walk-through, make sure this checklist is signed by both yourself and the landlord. Keep a copy and give a copy to the landlord for both your records.

How to Avoid Losing your Damage Deposit

During Living in the Rental

This point may be obvious, but it is worth mentioning. Make sure that you do not damage anything while living in the rental. This includes the obvious, do not leave holes in the walls, replace anything you accidentally break, etc. However, this also applies to things you may overlook. For example, if water is leaking from a faucet, roof, or shower, and it starts to create water damage over time, you can have the damage removed from your deposit. That is because, as a tenant, you have a responsibility to report these leaks to your landlord so they may fix it and stop further damage from happening.

Also, keep in mind that altering the home without written permission can cost you your damage deposit as well. If you plan to do any renovations, make sure you get it in writing that the renovations are allowed from your landlord. This includes something as simple as putting tacks in the wall to larger projects such as painting the wall a different color.

Upon Moving Out

Damage deposits are in place to protect landlords from more than just damages, including have tenants leave the rental without notice. Upon moving out, it is important to take care of the following:

Give a full months notice that you are vacating the apartment:

It is required by law that all renters give their landlord at least a months warning when they are vacating a rental. This is to ensure the landlord has enough time to replace the tenant. If notice is not given a month in advance, landlords are within their rights to keep your entire damage deposit. Additionally, they can also demand that you pay the entire following months rent in full. To avoid the hassle, just make sure to give at least a month’s written notice to your landlord before vacating.

Give the Entire Place a Very Thorough Cleaning:

You are required to leave the place in pristine condition, even if the place wasn’t clean when you moved in. While it may seem unfair if you moved into a mess, it is very clearly written in BC’s rental laws that no matter the condition of the home upon moving in, the tenant must clean the home upon vacating. If you do not leave the place in pristine condition, the landlord may hire professional cleaners to finish, and take the cost out of your damage deposit. You can avoid this by cleaning the place yourself. Make sure you do the following commonly missed areas:

  • Wash the walls
  • Pull out all appliances and clean the sides and floor underneath
  • Wash the trim
  • Do a thorough cleaning of the oven
  • Dust the blinds
  • Steam clean the carpets
How to Avoid Losing your Damage Deposit

Replace Anything That Has Been Broken:

Accidents happen; however, make sure you replace anything you may have broke during your stay. Think about it for a moment, did your light use to have a cover before you hit and it broke? Was that mirror with a slight crack in it like that when you moved in? If so, fix it yourself! If you replace the item you can control the costs, and avoiding losing the deposit. Any easy way to do this? Take that list that you and the landlord made when you first moved in and go through each item one by one.

If you have taken care to follow all of the above steps then you should not have any problems getting your damage deposit back in full. However, if your landlord decides to keep your damage deposit they have to provide reasoning to you in writing. You can agree to the amount listed or dispute it, in which case the BC Residential Tenancy Branch will make the final decision.

If your landlord is keeping your damage deposit and you are wondering whether it is allowed BC’s Solution Explorer will tell you what is and isn’t expected of both you and your landlord in this situation.

The easiest way to get your damage deposit back is to make sure you clean up after yourself, give proper notice, and of course, don’t damage the property. If you follow these three simple steps, you should have no problem with getting your damage deposit back.