Moving into a new home can be both an exciting and complicated process. You need to ensure you have all of your rental requirements in order, such as fully understanding your lease, paying your first month’s rent and security deposit, and hiring movers for the big day.

And whether you are nearing your move-in day or it’s soon time for you to move out, getting your security deposit returned should be one of your top priorities. Luckily, if you take the right steps and do a little research, you may be able to get back most of your hard-earned money for the house you rent in Pennsylvania.

If you’re looking for rental duplexes, homes, townhomes, and apartments in PA, you can trust Burkentine Rentals to provide a safe and beautiful rental property. Our experienced staff of property managers is dedicated to helping you find the perfect place that fits your lifestyle. We have an extensive portfolio of properties to choose from, so you’ll be sure to find something that suits your needs. Don’t settle for just any rental property. Rent with confidence today by choosing Burkentine Rentals and learn what you need to do to get more of your security deposit back.

1. Pay Rent on Time

Paying your monthly rent on time is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you’ll get at least a portion of your security deposit back. Your rental agreement should specify when and how the rent should be paid, so read it carefully! If you don’t follow the instructions specified in your rental agreement, you may incur interest or other costs that could result in deductions from your deposit if you haven’t already paid the fees.

If you are in a house you rent in Pennsylvania, it’s crucial to understand how your security deposit may be used if you ever fall behind on rent payments. The landlord is entitled to use your security deposit to compensate for any unpaid rent for your lease term. They can also withhold part of the security deposit for a breach of your rental agreement.

The landlord can only use your security deposit in this way within reason, though. They must provide adequate documentation and an itemized list of expenses before taking the money out of your deposit. Additionally, they must act in good faith when using these funds and cannot deduct costs unrelated to rent owed, breach of contract, or damages to the premises.

In other words, they cannot arbitrarily take money out of your security deposit without explanation or providing an itemized statement beforehand. So, if you find yourself behind on rental payments, ensure you understand what deductions will be taken from your security deposit—or risk having less returned to you than expected at the end of the lease term!

2. Fulfill Any Final Obligations as Required by Your Lease

A professional carpet cleaning machine cleaning a carpet.

When you sign a rental application and then a lease for houses to rent in Pennsylvania, you must understand all of the obligations of the agreements to avoid any potential problems. For example, your landlord may require that you have the carpets professionally cleaned before leaving. They may also require a certain amount of notice before you move out. If you fail to do the obligations as outlined in your lease, you risk not having your security deposit returned.

Most landlords also require that you keep the rental unit clean and up to code. This requirement means ensuring all appliances are in working order, avoiding any damage that could cause health or safety concerns, and following noise regulations. Keeping your unit clean and up to code helps protect yourself and the other tenants who live on or near the property. And by following these and other obligations on your lease, you may get more of a refund of your security deposit.

3. Thoroughly Clean Your Rental Unit

When living in a house you rent in Pennsylvania, it’s important to clean your home thoroughly before moving out. Giving your unit a deep clean can be one of the most effective ways to help ensure you get back more of your security deposit.

Give all areas a thorough cleaning to ensure nothing has been missed or left behind. For example, pulling out your stove to clean the wall behind it and the floor may reveal a potholder you didn’t know fell. You should also pay attention to details. Wiping down surfaces, baseboards, and walls, vacuuming and mopping the floors, and dusting furniture, can go a long way toward getting your security deposit refunded. Hiring professional cleaners who know what landlords look for when inspecting rental properties at the move-out time may also be beneficial.

Taking the time to give your unit a deep clean before moving out shows landlords that you’re serious about living up to your responsibilities and following lease agreements. This extra effort will benefit you in the long run by helping ensure that more of your security deposit gets back to you at move-out time.

4. Walk Through the Apartment with Your Landlord Before You Move Out

A man with a clipboard writing with another man smiling at him.

Whether you’re living in a single-family home, apartment, townhouse, or rental duplex, it’s important to establish a good relationship with your landlord and make sure all of your lease obligations are fulfilled before moving out. One of the best ways to do this is by requesting an end-of-lease walkthrough with your landlord.

A walkthrough is when you and your landlord inspect the property together. It can benefit both parties since it helps identify potential issues or damage that may have occurred during the tenancy. Maybe you need to patch some holes from nails, or there are other minor repairs you need to address. Doing a walkthrough before move-out can find these issues and allow you to address them before leaving for good.

Being proactive about addressing any issues or damages in advance will mean the landlord has fewer deductions to make from your security deposit. But keep in mind that major repairs, such as anything to do with electrical, heating, or plumbing, should be the responsibility of your property management company to fix, especially if it was through no fault of your own.

5. Make Any Possible Minor Repairs

Renting a home in Pennsylvania involves making sure you have fulfilled all of your lease obligations before you move out. These obligations include performing necessary repairs and maintenance to ensure the property is clean and habitable for the next tenant. Minor repairs such as patching up holes in walls, replacing light bulbs, or tightening loose screws can help ensure that more of your security deposit returns to you when you move out.

By taking care of minor repairs before moving out, you demonstrate to your landlord that you’ve put forth effort in maintaining the property and fulfilling your lease obligations. This extra effort will benefit you immensely at the move-out time by helping ensure that more of your security deposit is returned to you.

6. Give the Landlord Written Notice of Your New Address

When moving out, give your landlord written notice of your new address. Doing so ensures that your landlord has the correct information for returning your security deposit. In Pennsylvania, a landlord must return the security deposit after they deduct it for repairs, back rent, or unpaid utilities. However, they must provide a written list of the deductions and damages with the balance of your security deposit.

It’s also important to note that they can sue you for the balance if your security deposit does not provide sufficient funds to cover all of the back rent or damages. If the court finds that the property damage or unpaid rent exceeds the deposits at the beginning of the lease, they could deduct the money from your wages.

Suppose you provided your landlord with a forwarding address and still haven’t received the balance of your security deposit within 30 days. In that case, your landlord cannot sue you for damage to the property or keep any part of your deposit. Therefore, you must give the landlord notice of your new address in writing. It’s even best to send certified mail to get a signature that they received the letter. You also have the right to sue your landlord if they do not return the security deposit in time, but be sure to check with an attorney or your local government for the details.

7. Take Pictures of the Unit Before You Move In and After You Move Out

A man taking pictures of his new apartment with his smartphone.

Before moving into a new home, take detailed photos of any pre-existing damage or signs of wear so that your landlord is aware and cannot hold you responsible for them when you move out. This step can also involve taking photos of appliances, furniture, fixtures, and other features. It also helps to reference these photos when you move out to ensure you leave the home in the same or better condition than when you moved in.

When you move out, take photos of each room to show that the property is clean and in order compared to the condition when you moved in. Having these photos can provide undisputable proof that there are any discrepancies in the return of your security deposit. Most landlords account for normal wear and tear in a home, but be sure to address obvious signs of damage before moving out. In addition, if an item is missing from the home or needs replacing, these pictures will be invaluable for determining who is responsible for repairs or replacements.

8. Give Back Your Keys

When leaving a house you rent in Pennsylvania, returning all sets of keys to your landlord is important before you move. Doing so can help ensure that you get more of your security deposit back, as failure to return all the keys may result in certain deductions from the deposit.

Remember that unlabeled keys could be used to access mailboxes, pool areas, and other shared spaces that may have been given to you or provided with the property or home community at the time of move-in. If any of these are missing when it’s time for you to move out, your landlord may deduct money from your deposit for a locksmith or handle replacement. Be sure not to leave any of these behind!

Additionally, make sure to return all copies of garage remotes and fobs associated with the property as part of responsible move-out protocol. Not returning such items will also likely lead to money being deducted from your security deposit and is often a troublesome process for everyone involved. Properly handing back all necessary items when vacating is key to getting as much of your security deposit back as possible.

Looking for a House to Rent in Pennsylvania?

Everyone wants to get their security deposit back at the end of the lease. Fortunately, you can better ensure that happens if you keep track of your rental payments and be mindful of any repairs or cleaning costs due upon move-out. By following these eight tips, you’ll give yourself a better chance of getting more of your security deposit returned at the end of your lease.

For tenants looking for a house to rent in Pennsylvania, Burkentine Rentals offers beautiful homes with fair lease and security deposit terms, so you can rest assured that you’ll be taken care of during your tenancy.