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Rescue Your Security Deposit


If one thing is true, it’s that landlords and apartment complex’s will nickle and dime you for any small damages your apartment/house has undergone over the past school year.  It is important to keep this in mind as the semester draws to an end and our lease expiration dates close in on us.  It’s that time of year to start thinking about that security deposit you so willingly handed over at the beginning of this school year.  400 dollars is a hefty amount for someone living on Ramen noodles and Burnetts vodka.  I know I would love to have that amount transferred back into my bank account.  It’s important to take the necessary precautions in order to get as much, if not all of your security deposit back.

1. Fill all nail and pin holes in your walls.  This can be done with nail hole filling putty. You just pinch a small amount on your finger and fill the hole, washing off any excess with a damp rag.  If you’re really down to the wire on money, use white toothpaste on small holes.  

2. If you painted your walls a different color, be sure to paint them back to the original.  This is obviously a dead giveaway and a quick fine.  The landlord will charge you big time if they have to hire someone to come paint over the magenta wall in your living room.  My advice in the first place: don’t paint anything in your house if you only plan on living there for a year.  You will thank yourself in the spring.

3. Clean!  Clean as much as you can.  My roommates and I, living in tallgrass last year, got fined for the back door wall being egged!  

4. Replace burnt out light bulbs.  If there are one or two bulbs you can’t reach, it probably won’t be a problem, but an excess of burnt out bulbs will get you a fine!  

5. Fix everything that you possibly can.  They will charge you more than it actually costs you to fix things yourself.  

6. If you have any huge stains in your carpet, be extremely careful when trying to get these out.  When the directions on the back of cleaners say “test in a small spot before applying to a visual part of the carpet,” they aren’t kidding.  Again, through experience, Tallgrass apartments didn’t appreciate the frisbee sized bleach spot in the middle of our living room last year!


Remember, these apartment complexes and landlords take advantage of the fact that we’re students and we usually fail to follow through on getting our deposits back.  It is important to keep a log of any emails you have sent to your landlord on things you had fixed in your residence.  If they try to fine you for things that you asked them to fix, you will have proof that you are not responsible and/or took the necessary precautions in upkeeping the house.  Good luck and don’t give up without a fight!

Marena is currently a senior at Central Michigan University. She is majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Leadership.
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