Whether you're heading off to college or living your life in an apartment, renters always have rights.
Tip #1: Landlords can only deduct money from security deposits for unpaid rent or property damage like stained carpets, damaged walls or cracked windows. Landlords cannot refuse deposit money based on normal wear and tear like routine cleaning and painting.
Tips #2: You need to get any deductions itemized in writing. Get that list within 21 days of the end of the lease. Otherwise, the security deposit must, by law, be returned in full. If you move out before the end of the lease agreement, you must notify the landlord in writing to enact the 21-day rule and get your deposit.
Tip #3: When moving into your new apartment, you have seven days to inspect the apartment and complete a check-in form at the start of the new lease. It's a good idea to document and take pictures of any existing damage before you sign a rental agreement so you don't get charged for it later.