How to Get Your Security Deposit Back in Northern Virginia Property Management

As a tenant, there are ways you can minimize deductions to your security deposit. Your landlord and McGrath Real Estate Services want you to get your security deposit back. A full security deposit return means you are happy as a tenant, and we don’t have to coordinate any repairs with your landlord. Overall, it’s less money and time for all parties involved. The lease allows us 60 days to return your deposit. This gives us time to assess any repairs that are needed and manage them. We know your security deposit is a lot of money, so we’re sharing some tenant advice that can help you expedite the process. These things don’t guarantee faster turnaround, but they do make it more likely.

Avoid Property Damage

The main purpose of the security deposit is to protect the owner from property damage. One of the best things you can do to get the full deposit back is to avoid doing damage. We understand that no one damages a property on purpose, but there are steps you can take to minimize the chance of it happening by accident. Put sliders on your furniture, and use pads on large items as you move them in and out of the house. Position things in a way that reduces the likelihood of any scrapes or mishaps. Damage, as defined by your lease, is any detriment to the condition of the property outside of normal wear and tear.

Normal Wear and Tear

Normal wear and tear is the industry term for things that naturally happen to a house when people live in it. We understand that people will walk on carpet and walls will get minor scuffs. We expect these, and your lease allows for them without any deductions. However, anything outside of normal wear and tear will be considered damage, and deducted from your security deposit. Some examples include broken windows, holes in walls, ripped carpet, or damage done by pets.


Cleanliness is also important. The lease requires that your carpet and fireplace are professionally cleaned before you move out. If you have pets, carpets must be treated to have fleas and ticks removed. Receipts for these cleanings are required and should be provided to the person who inspects your property at move-out. You don’t have to have the property professionally cleaned, but it should be cleaned to professional standards. If you use a professional cleaner recommended by McGrath, we guarantee that they will clean the home to our standards. Providing property management in Northern Virginia means we have relationships with great vendors, and if your property isn’t cleaned to our standards, we will send the cleaning team back out to get it right.

Move-Out Inspection

You also need to replace furnace filters and light bulbs. Please mow the lawn and make sure all the landscaping is in good condition. Return all keys, fobs, garage remotes, parking passes, and pool passes to us at move-out. Anything missing will be replaced and paid for from your security deposit. During the move-out inspection, we will inspect the property for damage and cleanliness and collect any items that need to be returned. During this inspection, a report will be generated to compare the condition of the home to the condition documented during our move-in inspection. This is why it’s so important to pay attention to the move-in inspection.

Returning the Deposit

If there are any security deposit items, the lease allows for a 20 percent administrative fee to be charged. It’s important not to shut off the utilities until the last day of your lease. Before you move out, stop any auto payments. Change your forwarding address at the post office and provide us with your new address. Your security deposit check will be sent to your new address and made out to all the tenants on the lease. This is because all tenants are equally liable for the security deposit.

How to Get Your Security Deposit Back in Northern Virginia Property ManagementThe better the condition of the property, the better chance you have of getting your whole security deposit refund. If you follow the steps in this video, you’ll know you did everything in your power to get the security deposit back as quickly as possible.  

If you have any questions about how to get security deposits back, or anything pertaining to Northern Virginia property management, please contact us at McGrath Real Estate Services.