Moving into Your New Place


Most property owners require you to pay a deposit in addition to your first month’s rent and, in some cases, require you to pay non-refundable fees for move-out cleaning, credit screening, and any pets they have authorized. Many also charge last month’s rent when you move in.

If you’re being asked to pay a deposit:

  • Your rental agreement must be in writing and must state what each deposit is for and what you must do in order to get your money back

  • You must be given a written receipt for each deposit you pay

  • You and your property owner must fill out and sign a checklist or statement describing the condition of the rental unit at move-in and your property owner must give you a signed copy

  • After you move out, your property owner has 14 days in which to either return your deposit or give you a written statement of why all or part of the money is being kept. Make sure you leave a forwarding address with your property owner when moving out to insure that you receive your deposit back.

    Remember that you must restore your rental to the same condition as when you moved in, except for normal wear and tear. Because reasonable wear and tear is inevitable, the law clearly states that deposits can’t be used to cover normal wear and tear or damage that existed when you moved in. That’s why a “walk through” with your property owner is so important prior to moving in. A written damage checklist signed by both you and your property owner will protect you from any questionable “damages” being charged against your deposit.