How to Almost Guarantee That You Will Get Your Apartment Deposit Back

Lee Hansen, Yahoo Contributor Network

Feb 24, 2014 “Share your voice on Yahoo websites.

Don’t make the mistake in assuming that you will automatically get your deposit back when leaving your apartment. Before moving into an apartment take “before” pictures to keep of how it looked when you first moved in. Do the same when you leave. It will be a good reference point to have. Be sure that it is move-in ready with no problems that you might be blamed for. Include the following items or things to do:

Holes from walls - If you have holes in your walls from hanging pictures be sure to use putty and a little paint to repair them. Landlords want the apartment to be left in good shape before renting it to another tenant. The less they have to do in prepping it the better.

Clean out closets completely - Be sure to remove all your clothing from closets and storage area. If you don’t want them, donate to a local charity if they are still in good shape. It is not the landlord’s responsibility to figure out what to do with them.

Clean appliances - Although they may not be in pristine condition they should be thoroughly cleaned for the next person who will occupy the apartment.

Trash and debris - Get rid of all trash and debris from the premises. Aside from being a sanitary issue, it could cause a problem with rodents and roaches being attracted to the garbage.

Floor care - If you have carpet be sure to vacuum it thoroughly. If you have hardwood floors sweep well.

Issues related to landlord - If you have problem with things such as broken pipes and plumbing, contact the landlord immediately. No need in paying for something that is the landlord’s responsibility.

Paint - Some landlords will allow tenants to paint their walls when they move in with the stipulation that they paint them back to its original color before you leave.

Notification - Let the landlord know well in advance when you plan on leaving. Breaking your lease will almost guarantee that you won’t get your deposit back.


While it might take a little elbow grease on your part, it will be worth the effort when you get that deposit back.


What this article does not say, but in California you have a right to a pre inspection: ”Pursuant to California Civil Code § 1950.5, you have the right to request that the landlord or landlord’s agent (“Landlord”) make an inspection of the Premises prior to the termination of your tenancy for the purpose of giving you an opportunity to remedy deficiencies (consistent with your lease or rental agreement), in order to avoid certain deductions from your security deposit.”

Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent


Outsmart the Competition With a Renter Application Packet



renter application packet

Image by Victor1558 via Flickr

In a competitive rental market, it’s no longer effective to go to an apartment showing with only your checkbook, ready to hand in a deposit. In cities such as San Francisco, renters can arrive at a showing to see a line of 40 other applicants vying for the same unit. So what can you do to get your foot in the door? Create a renter application packet.

In order to have a good chance at landing the apartment, you need to show the landlord that you’re qualified from the get-go. You can make a good first impression by being prepared and having all necessary documents neatly packaged in a file and ready to submit when you step through the door.

Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Essential documents

Gather the following paperwork to create your file:

  • Identification: Make a photocopy of your driver’s license or passport.
  • Proof of employment: Ask your employer for a letter confirming your employment. This letter should specifically state your name, position, length of employment and salary.
  • Pay stubs: Many landlords have minimum salary requirements. Make copies of at least your three most recent pay stubs.
  • Bank statement. Including this shows the landlord you are financially stable and capable of paying the rent.
  • References: Create a sheet with the names and phone numbers of previous landlords, business references or other contacts who can confirm your financial trustworthiness. If you have a letter of recommendation, include it in your file.
  • Rental application and fee: Some property management websites have applications that you can print and fill out in advance, or you can search for a general rental application online. Don’t forget to attach a check for the application and credit report processing fees.

Extra considerations

Additional materials that might be required include a copy of your most recent tax return, or if you have a co-signer, copies of the previously listed documents from your guarantor. Depending on which state you’re in, some of the documents may need notarization.

Double-check the application requirements before you attend the showing. These can vary depending on the landlord, and some may require you to pay additional fees or deposits. Don’t forget to bring your checkbook so you’re prepared to act quickly if the showing and approval process go smoothly.  Remember, a lease is a legally binding document, and you need to read it carefully before signing your name on the dotted line. Best of luck!


See our online application at under the tenants tab

Courtesy of your Arcadia Real Estate Agent

Are Rising Rents Too Much of a Good Thing?

Oct 19, 2012 12:18 PM, By Bendix Anderson, Contributing Writer

It seems like such good news—apartment rents are rising faster than inflation. That means more profits for real estate investors.

 But there’s also a risk. When rents rise faster than the paychecks of your residents, then that puts pressure on their budgets. Eventually they may look for other options. If you’ve carefully marketed your apartment community to a certain set of residents—say retirees or workers at the local hospital—it’s bad news for you if those people can no longer afford to live there.

“Landlords need to be careful,” says Brad Doremus, senior analyst for data firm Reis, Inc., based in New York City. “They can’t raise rents forever or they come up against that budget constraint.” Property managers should worry about competition from new rental housing, cheaper rental housing and even for-sale housing. Eventually it will become clear to everyone that the for-sale housing market has bottomed and prices are rising, and residents paying sky-high rents will start looking seriously at homes or condominiums.




How high is the pressure on your renters? The cost of housing rose 52 percent between 2001 and 2010. The cost of transportation rose 33 percent. Taken together, that works out to a 44 percent increase. But over the same period, household incomes rose just 25 percent. Taken together, it adds up to a huge loss of disposable income, according to “Losing Ground: The Struggle of Moderate-Income Households to Afford the Rising Cost of Housing and Transportation,” a new report from the Center for Housing Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology.

And a loss of disposable income is a big problem for many renters.

The cost of rental housing has risen even more since 2010. Effective rents on average grew 2.9 percent between end of the third quarter 2012 and the same time last year, inching out the consumer price index, according to Reis. CPI rose 2.0 percent over the year that ended in September. The year-over-year rent hikes were much higher in hot markets like San Jose (4.2 percent) and San Francisco (5.8 percent).

Once you add transportation and housing together, the cost can be overwhelming for moderate-income people. The report defines “moderate-income” as people who earn between 50 percent and 100 percent of the area median income. That’s between $30,000 and $60,000 a year in most markets. These families now pay more than three out of every five dollars—59 percent of their income, on average—on housing and transportation costs.

“The landlord might think there is an opportunity to raise rents, but the market might be volatile enough that they back themselves into a corner,” warns Scott Bernstein, president of CNT. Rental residents may be forced to downsize to other, cheaper housing.




But Bernstein also sees an opportunity in the numbers. An apartment community that is located in a place where transportation is less expensive may become much more attractive for households looking to reduce their expenses.

If a moderate-income family can live in a place where the need one less car to get around, that works out to a 10 to 15 percent increase to their disposable income. “It’s the equivalent of 10 percent to a 15 percent raise,” says Bernstein. Smart Growth advocates like Bernstein encourage “location efficient” new development, where residents can walk or take the train to amenities like shopping and employment.

Looking at the cost of housing and transportation together also shows real estate investors what not to worry about. Competition from for-sale housing built far away from jobs and services is probably not coming back anytime soon. “This undercuts the whole idea of ‘drive till you qualify,’” says Bernstein. “I don’t see those markets turning around quickly.”

In contrast, apartments in efficient locations are attractive to renters on a budget. “Press your advantage on transportation,” says Bernstein. “Tell people what it costs to get to a from that building typical locations.”