How can I get all of my security deposit back after I move out?

Your security deposit on your USF apartment can be a big chunk of money. Obviously, you want to get all of it back, and your landlord wants you to get it back too – that means you did everything right and left things nice for the next renter! Here's how you can leave your USF apartment (and your bank account!) in excellent shape.

First, read your lease. This should state most, if not all, of your responsibilities upon move out. You probably have to give a certain amount of notice that you are ending your lease – it can vary from 30 days to 90 days. Know this ahead of time. Keep a signed copy of this notice. If you leave before your lease is up, you risk having to pay extra rent.

Assuming that your landlord knows you are leaving ahead of time, and you are leaving at the correct time for your lease, you will next need to focus on the condition that you leave your apartment in. Obviously, leaving the unit in bad condition is a good way to not get your security deposit back. But, some landlords require you to clean much more thoroughly than others. Your lease should help you figure out what needs to be done.

If not, ask your landlord what they require. Some USF apartments have a premade list of things that you are responsible for cleaning. If they do, your job is easy – clean those things and you are set! If they are more vague in their answer of what needs to be cleaned, use common sense. If the stress of moving has put your common sense in short supply, check out this list. It's a good place to start.

If you know that your USF apartment will be left in as good of condition as when you found it, you are ready to move on to the last step – moving out! After you've gotten all your things out of your USF apartment, head over to the leasing office and turn in ALL of your keys (you will be charged if you don't). You can ask the landlord to look over your unit and tell you if there is anything that you missed – they may or may not be willing to do this (but if you do ask, ask and set up an appointment in advance). If they decline, take dated pictures of the unit when you leave.

Once you are done, make sure that your landlord has your new address. They can't send you your security deposit if they can't find you! Legally in Florida, they must return to you the unused portion of your security deposit within 60 days of you moving out.

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