How can I guarantee my security deposit is refunded?

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Q: I'm moving into a new place that requires a large security deposit. How do I protect myself so I get it back when I move out? A: In a perfect world, security deposits would be fully refundable. In the real world, one of the bitterest battles between landlord and tenant arises over security deposit issues. How does a renter avoid conflict from the start? Start when you move in, being sure to do a complete walk-through of the premises. Most leases decree that the unit "is to be returned in the same condition as when first rented, less wear and tear." Your task at hand is to establish exactly what condition the place was in front the start. Where to begin? Hopefully the landlord will provide a walk-through or inventory checklist at move-in. If not, create your own. If possible, draw out a basic floor plan on a sheet of paper. Label the rooms, and indicate where windows and doors are placed to help narrow down the details. Bring a camera to back up any notable items, especia...