If you are planning to move out of your rental and are relying on your security deposit to help with moving costs, it is important to understand what is generally considered normal wear and tear in the rental world and what you need to do to maximize your deposit return. Landlords are permitted to deduct from security deposits for damage or excessive filth, but not for ordinary wear and tear. Creekbend Property Management has provided a simple – to – follow steps and information to help you get back most or all of  your security deposit and even more importantly, a good rental reference from your landlord!


What is normal wear and tear?

Basically anything that is an act of everyday living and constant use, deterioration that results from the intended use of the home. Such as:

  • Soiled carpets due to dirt tracked in on shoes, constant use, and also show some discoloration and matted from wear.
  • Fading paint or a few small holes on the walls from hanging pictures.
  • Blinds that have faded with use are also part of normal wear and tear that occurs with time.
  • Blind pulls or strings may also be worn or frayed due to constant use

What is excessive damage?

Actual damage from negligence, carelessness, accident or abuse of the home, equipment or personal property by the tenant or by a member of the tenant’s household or by a guest of the tenant. Such as:

  • Filth in refrigerator dirty greasy stove tops and ovens,
  • Broken compartments in the refrigerator or damaged stove burners.
  • Mold and mildew covering bathroom tubs or walls that require professional cleaning
  • Holes punched into walls, ripped or damaged screens.
  • Doors and doorways that have been scratched and chewed by pets.
  • Torn carpets, or stains, burns or blotches from bleach all constitute permanent damage.
  • Stains and odors on the floor or carpet due to pets.
  • Broken fixtures, doors, windows, or screens that have cracks or rips due to intentional or careless use.
  • Broken or damaged blinds.
  • Flea infestation that requires professional treatment and removal.
  • Damage to outdoor fencing caused by tenant or their pets.
  • Holes in yard due to pets digging.
  • Damage to walls or ceilings due to faulty repairs to pipes that tenant installed rather than having a licensed professional do the work.

What do you need to do to get that deposit back?

  • Patch holes in the walls left from posters, pictures, shelves, etc.
  • Hire a professional carpet cleaning company to get the job done properly
  • Repaint walls with landlord approved colors
  • Replace any burnt out light bulbs and damaged light fixtures.
  • Repair any loose hinges, knobs, hanging cabinets, and towel bars.
  • Deep clean the fridge, oven, stove top, microwave, and dishwasher.
  • Clean under refrigerator; move away from wall to clean around the fridge area.
  • Scrub away mold in bathtubs, shower stalls, sinks, and toilets.
  • Clean out drawers and cabinets, vacuum and wipe clean.
  • Sweep, vacuum and mop all floors once all the furniture is out of the way. Clean inside of windows, clean off window sills, vacuum blinds, vacuum and clean baseboards.
  • Wipe down walls, clean remove finger prints from light switches and doors
  • Flea bomb if there were indoor/outdoor pets.
  • If you are responsible for lawn care; mow the grass, rake up and dispose of debris, sweep walkways and porches/decks and clean out trash bins. Fill in holes in yard from pet’s digging.

Creekbend Property Management recommends documenting with photos the condition of your rental before moving in and after moving out. Always check your city, county, and state laws for security deposit details since they do vary from state to state. Once you’re completely moved out, request a walk through with the landlord, leave a forwarding address, and return your keys. Depending on what state you live in, it may take 15-30 days to get your deposit back.

Creekbend Property Management is located in Charleston, SC specializing in rental properties in downtown Charleston, James Island, Isle of Palm, Johns Island, Kiawah, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, North Charleston, and West Ashley. We are licensed and insured, providing leasing services, management services, maintenance, and most importantly; giving our property investors peace of mind!


Posted by: creekbendblog on June 7, 2019
Posted in: Uncategorized